Hero who saved lives during Thika road terror blasts
When people helped Mr John Kamoshe Murimi after he was injured during the 2007/8 post-election violence, they unknowingly planted a seed that finally bore fruit on May 4.
It was that fruit that led him to disregard his safety to help others when a blast went off on a Githurai-bound bus on Thika Road, just 100 metres from his car.
Murimi, 32, a self-employed electrician was driving with a friend and had not realised what was going on until he saw a human leg on the road and immediately brought his car to a halt.
Crying for help
“During the post-poll chaos I was in a situation where I needed people to help me and so when I saw the victims of that blast, I recalled how I was helped at that time,” said Murimi.
He parked his car about 50 metres away and rushed to the scene to attend to the injured. He was met by people crying for help.
Murimi said it was horrifying to see people whose legs had been blown off and who were bleeding profusely.
But thanks to his post-poll experience, he had hardened somewhat and — after the initial shock — quickly recovered and went into action.
He took off his shirt and belt to tie two critically injured victims to slow their bleeding.
“In less than five minutes there were several of us carrying the injured out of the bus,” he said.
They then stopped motorists on the other lane of the highway and urged them to take the victims to nearby hospitals.
“Some were unsympathetic and even asked us how they could carry strangers with blood all over them,” he added.
The father of two said they gave priority to those who had a chance of surviving.
“We were checking if the victim was still alive before putting him or her in available cars. What kept me going was the thought: ‘What if this was my relative?’” he said.
He added that he was encouraged when a woman he was carrying kept saying asante (thanks) brother.
By the time ambulances and police cars arrived at the scene, there were very few victims left. His actions have been described as heroic.
A motorist who only gave his name as David said there would have been more fatalities if Murimi and other rescuers had not taken action.
“I saw him doing all he could to ensure the injured were ferried to nearby hospitals,” said David.
But Murimi said his actions were not heroic. He was only lending a hand where it was needed.
“We ought to be selfless and think of others as human beings who deserve our help. That is what enabled many victims of the blasts to survive,” he said.