INSECURITY IN MOMBASA

Freed terror suspects blamed for Likoni gang attacks

Residents say police and chiefs protect gangs but police accuse locals of hiding criminals

In Summary

•Police say 80 per cent of gang members are from local communities

• Frustrated Likoni residents ask police to shoot and kill gang members.

Mombasa police boss Johnstone Ipara with county commissioner Evans Achoki during a security meeting at Shika Adabu, Likoni, on Wednesday
HEADS TOGETHER: Mombasa police boss Johnstone Ipara with county commissioner Evans Achoki during a security meeting at Shika Adabu, Likoni, on Wednesday
Image: ANDREW KASUKU

Police on Wednesday said returnee terror suspects have pitched tent in Likoni and are recruiting youths to criminal gangs and introducing them to illegal drugs.

Residents have blamed police and chiefs for protecting the gangs while police have accused locals of hiding their youth involved in crime.

Likoni assistant county commissioner Eric Wamlevu said the majority of gang members are from the local community.

 

“I want you to show me any criminal from upcountry;  85 per cent are your own youths here,” he said.

Some of the deadly gangs include Wajukuu wa Bibi who operate in Barabara Mchanga, Watalia in Kefu area and Nzaikwa from Ng’ombeni.

Gang hotspots include Jamvi la Wageni, Consolata, Shika Adabu, Shonda, Brazas, Likoni Secondary School area and Timbwani.

Frustrated Likoni residents have asked police to shoot and kill gang members. 

Community policing officers, Nyumba Kumi officials and other community representatives at a security baraza at Shika Adabu chief’s office, Likoni, said it would be the best action. 

“Akitoa panga, piga risasi, maliza yeye (If they carry machetes, shoot them dead,” Moi Bernard, a community policing official, said.

He said the deadly Kayambombo clashes which killed hundreds and displaced many begun in a similar manner.

“We will do what you have said. If you are caught, you will carry your own cross,” county police boss Johnstone Ipara told the residents.

Rights group Muslims for Human Rights has cautioned police against shoot-to-kill operations.

Muhuri wants public arrests initiated in situations where police are unable to act.

Mombasa county commissioner Evans Achoki said drug business is fuelling crime.

“I know drug traffickers and you know them too. You run to them when you need cash. Stop associating with them so that we can arrest them,” he said, adding that the traffickers will be arrested within a week.

Kwale county was at the centre of youth recruitment to al Shabaab terror group and Mombasa Republican Council three years ago. 

(Edited by O. Owino)

Mombasa police boss Johnstone Ipara with county commissioner Evans Achoki during a security meeting at Shika Adabu, Likoni on Wednesday
Mombasa police boss Johnstone Ipara with county commissioner Evans Achoki during a security meeting at Shika Adabu, Likoni on Wednesday
Image: ANDREW KASUKU