Journalists have condemned the alleged attack on Nation Media Group correspondent Barrack Oduor who is reported to have been injured after jumping out of a moving vehicle.
Oduor was allegedly abducted while meeting a lady at the centre of a sex scandal touching on Migori Governor Okoth Obado at around 8.00 pm on Monday. Police say the lady, Sharon Otieno, who was in the company of Oduor when he was abducted, has been found dead.
The pregnant university student went missing after the Nation journalist was abducted for pursuing a story implicating Mr Obado in a love triangle. The body of Sharon, a second-year student at Rongo University in Migori County, was found in Kodera Forest, Homa Bay County today morning, about 2 hours drive from Migori.
Oduor said unknown people tried to strangle him which prompted him to jump out of the speeding vehicle at Kadel trading centre on the Homa Bay-Kisumu road at around 11..00 pm Monday. He is currently undergoing treatment at Aga Khan hospital in Kisumu.
Sharon reportedly met the journalist at a hotel in Rongo on Monday night. She told him that Migori Governor Okoth Obado had allegedly impregnated and abandoned her. This is said to be the hotel where the two were were reportedly kidnapped but the journalist managed to escape a few hours later.
On Tuesday, the Governor’s personal assistant Michael Oyamo was arrested in connection with the abduction saga.
The Kenya Correspondent Association (KCA) and Kisumu Journalists Network (KJN) have asked police to expedite investigations in the matter and bring the suspected abductors to book.
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KCA Chairman Oloo Janak and KJN chairman Dickson Odhiambo described the attack as unfortunate. Janak said the act is an intimidation of the media. “We condemn attempts by groups of individuals who want to intimidate journalists. It is wrong to fight the messenger,” he said.
KCA said Homa Bay County where Oduor is based has reported increased cases of journalist intimidation. Speaking on phone, Janak said several pressmen have reported cases of unknown people threatening their lives. “The threats are contributed by the reports and stories on corruption within the government,” he said.
Other journalists have called on the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) to find a solution on threats that journalists face.
Earlier this year, Oduor and other journalists from various media houses based in Homa Bay county were assaulted and their gargets broken when they went to cover a story at the County Assembly.
George Odiwuor of People Daily had his camera lens broken by police officers who said they were working under orders from assembly leadership.
Journalists have now called on the KCA to protect them against intimidation and threats. “We expect cases of threats to reduce but we see the opposite. More journalists are intimidated every day. KCA should intervene on this,” they said.
Other journalists have called on the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) to find a solution on threats that journalists face. “On most occasions, MCK have held meetings with journalists who have been intimidated but we have never seen the fruits of such gatherings,” they claimed.