In our attempts to verify the recent and extremely disturbing reports from Mombasa, we have found out that there were indeed two separate attacks against what we now know to be transwomen in the trade – with the intent to grievously harm and in the second case, kill.
What is even more disturbing is that this is the second time in 9 months that the following characteristics have been reported by the survivors of these attacks:
- The location: Fontanella
- The service provider, homeless at the time
- The client: of Somali origin
- The service provider was driven away from the vicinity
- Mutually agreed services were provided
- There was a dispute about payment
- The client then brutally slashed the service provider with a machete/panga’
- The brutalized service provider was then brought back to the vicinity, dumped from the moving car and left for dead
The first reported incident involving slashing occurred in October, 2012. It involved a young, homeless Mombasa lad who was trading in the vicinity of Fontanella. According to the young man, on the material night, he was taken away from the vicinity in the client’s car; he provided the client with the requested sexual services; there was a dispute about payment after which the client proceeded to slash him with a machete in several places, in the process cutting off his thumb. He was driven back to the vicinity, dumped from the moving vehicle and left there. The client was described as being of Somali origin. The case was taken up by HAPA Kenya, a Mombasa-based peer-led human rights group. The reported outcome of this case is that the lad eventually (and with great difficulty) recovered and has since been relocated to safety.
The second reported incident took place late Thursday 20th June night/early Friday 21st morning. Fortunately, the victim (also homeless in Mombasa) survived and, thanks to her strong survival instincts, friends and club staff, is recovering in hospital. Similarly, this transwoman was trading in the vicinity of Fontenella. She was driven off in the client’s car and provided him with the requested sexual services. Thereafter, payment became an issue upon which the client attacked her with a machete (panga) cutting her throat. She was driven back to the vicinity of Fontanella, thrown out of the moving car not far from the club entrance and left for dead. www.youtube.com/watch. Yet again, the client was of Somali origin. As in the previous case, this case too has been taken up by HAPA Kenya in collaboration with PEMA Kenya that has widely circulated a suggested way forward. We trust that within that way forward, exists a level of redress for the victim.
The third and most unfortunate incident which occurred early this morning (Tuesday 25th), has resulted in the fatality of the transwoman in the trade. Very little is known about the incident except that she hailed from Malindi and had travelled briefly to Mombasa to earn a coin. She was living in an area with no address (homeless). She was picked up by the client from around Fontanella. Onlookers and helpers who found her and brought her to the hospital, claim that she had been thrown out of a moving vehicle. Her throat had been slashed. The damage so extensive, that she had passed away before medical help could be administered. Her remains have since been picked up by family members from Malindi where she has been laid to rest.
To compound the horror of these stories, we have been informed that yesterday – June 24th, Radio Rahma, a Mombasa based radio station, hosted a call-in show in which listeners claimed that they would rid Mombasa of sex workers, and especially MSM/MSWs and organizations that are supportive of these persons.
We strongly urge all our members to be on the alert. Situations to be extremely vigilant about include working from Fontanella, clients of Somali origin, getting into cars and driving off with your potential clients.
Give your friends and allies some idea of what you are doing/intend to do. Keep tabs with the contact persons in your neighbourhood watch, and look out for your partners and friends. These are some of the other identified hotspots in Mombasa and Malindi.
MOMBASA and Environs
MALINDI, KILIFI and LAMU