IRONY

Why can't pistol-packing police stop panga attacks?

Four students attacked separately on Tuesday night — all with pangas

In Summary

• While the attacks have continued to spiral out of control, police are yet to launch a crackdown on the weapons. 

• In August, panga-wielding gangs attacked Bamburi residents leaving 11 injured. 

Pangas and knives seized in raid in which 14 Wakali Chee members were arrested on November 5.
DEADLY: Pangas and knives seized in raid in which 14 Wakali Chee members were arrested on November 5.
Image: ANDREW KASUKU

The panga is mightier than the pistol.

The irony of knives and pangas dwarfing the firepower of a gun could be a case study for criminology students and experts. 

Police patrol Kisauni, which is known for its criminal gangs.

However, In the latest panga attacks, four Technical University of Mombasa students were slashed on Tuesday in separate incidents as they headed home at 7pm in Mshomoroni. 

While three were treated and discharged, a third-year student is admitted with head fractures and multiple cuts at the Coast General Hospital’s ICU.

On Wednesday, the students took to the streets to demonstrate against crimes against their associates.

Following the attack, Mombasa police commander Augustine Nthumbi said 11 suspects were apprehended. 

“Action is being taken but we believe there is more to be done. We are assuring the public we will do everything possible to improve security in Kisauni,” Nthumbi said.

Knife-wielding gangs have killed dozens of innocent residents and left others with serious injuries over the years despite the police patrolling with guns. 

We don’t practise agriculture here. Why are people buying pangas? 
Regional Commissioner John Elungata

In November last year, gangs killed more than 15 people in Kisauni subcounty. 

At the time, Mombasa police commander Johnstone Ipara promised to increase police numbers but to date, police have not been able to contain the gangs.

Former county commissioner Evans Achoki once ordered Kisauni shopkeepers to keep a record of residents buying pangas and knives. 

“We don’t practise agriculture here. Why are people buying pangas?” Regional Commissioner John Elungata asked after August's Bamburi attack s that injured 11 people.

Police have previously refused to release the numbers of murders arising from stabbings, however, interviews with relatives of the deceased and survivors indicate that virtually all of the cases are knife and panga attacks.

While the attacks are spiralling out of control, police are yet to launch an effective crackdown on the weapons. 

Last week, police arrested 14 members of the Wakali Chee gang with seven bloodstained pangas and three knives. 

On Monday, police at Nyali Bridge checkpoint intercepted a car carrying three pangas and arrested its three occupants.

They first threaten to stab you and then proceed to inflict deep cuts if you don’t cooperate fast enough. 
Athman Munga, Kisauni resident

The Bamburi’s attack sparked a large-scale police operation launched by Interior CS Fred Matiang’i.

Policy changes like increasing police posts and shifting policemen were made but these efforts seem to have had little effect.

Students, doctors, engineers, grocers and shopkeepers, both young and old have fallen victims to the stabbings.

“They first threaten to stab you and then proceed to inflict deep cuts if you don’t cooperate fast enough,” Athman Munga, a Kisauni resident who has twice been robbed of his phone at knife-point, said.

The Star has established that once the pangas are confiscated by police during the raids, the gangs acquire new ones.

On Wednesday, a gang left behind three new pangas during an ambush where a gangster was gunned down. 

The terror continues as police investigate the source of the weapons. 

Edited by R.Wamochie