'People have been moving in and out of the metropolitan area using motorbikes through ‘panya’ routes. But their tricks have hit a dead end because we are now able to monitor every route. Several people are in custody and will be charged with flouting health rules'
Police have tightened security at roadblocks by using drones to nab those escaping to and from areas put under lockdown.
President Uhuru Kenyatta on April 6 ordered cessation of movement in and out of the Nairobi metropolitan area, Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi counties.
The move was aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus after the four regions were declared virus hotspots.
Mandera was later added to the list as case numbers soared.
But people have continuously escaped to and out of the regions using panya routes.
At the Kilimambogo roadblock in Thika that’s being manned by police from the Border Patrol Unit, the cops have introduced use of drones to nab those dodging the barrier to escape through the nearby fruits farm owned by Del Monte.
Sergeant Lameck Maragia, the officer in charge of operations at the roadblock, told journalists on Saturday that the new technology has enabled them to arrest many boda boda riders helping commuters to escape.
“People have been moving in and out of the metropolitan area using motorbikes through ‘panya’ routes. But their tricks have hit a dead end because we are now able to monitor every route. Several people are in custody and will be charged with flouting health rules,” Maragia said.
He said the drone is fitted with a high density camera that is able to monitor any movement from a distance of five kilometers. The gadget has greatly boosted operations.
The officer called on Kenyans to observe the set Covid-19 rules and cooperate with the government so as to flatten the curve amid rising cases.
“There are good citizens who are heeding the government directives but there are others who are devising crooked ways to dodge the police and get in or out of the restricted areas. Kenyans must understand that we have to work together, everyone plays their role so as to suppress the virus,” Maragia said.
The officers received a donation of foodstuff and sanitizers from Thika Town MP Patrick Wainaina who commended them for their work in controlling mass movement of people in and out of the Nairobi metropolitan region.
Wainaina urged the government to consider the lives of Kenyans and their health as the state mulls easing of restrictions.
“The graph is still rising and therefore this is not the right time to lift the ban. Kenyans must take the necessary precautions so that we can collaboratively flatten the curve otherwise we must learn how to live with the virus,’ Wainaina said.
Edited by P.O