•A man who escaped the arrest claimed that they were drinking with some police officers who joined the raid.
•During the raid, one of the men found drinking in the bar was given a police jacket and joined the raid.
Cops on Saturday arrested 17 revellers and attendants in a bar locked from inside in Wote town, Makueni County.
During the arrest, one of the bar patrons was given a police jacket.
A patron who escaped the 5pm arrest told this writer that some of the revellers, including the man who was given a jacket, were police officers.
“We were drinking with some of those officers who have joined the raid, they even bought beer for us,” said the escapee, who also lost his phone while running away.
The government last week announced all bars should be shut in bid to stop spread of the coronavirus that has claimed the life of one Kenyan with 37 others in health facilities.
Before the arrest, there was commotion as men jumped from the roof of the premises.
They were fleeing from cops who were persistently knocking the locked front door.
The revellers eventually gave up and opened the door.
Two men in civilian clothes who emerged from the premise first had a brief talk with the police officer before more cops from Makueni Police Station joined the raid.
One man was given a police jacket and joined the raid as a senior police officer talked to a third man, whom The Star learned was the bar owner.
The police officers bundled a group of men and women into a van that was driven away at high speed.
Some were whipped with batons as they boarded the van.
“I can’t imagine how they managed to drink without making noise for all those hours,” said a shopkeeper who said he saw people entering the bar using the backdoor during the day.
Makueni County Commissioner Maalim Mohammed said the raid was conducted under the command of Makueni OCS Francis Gichuhi after a tip off by the public.
“We have arrested them with crates of beer that we intend to use as evidence against them in court and as we warned before during a briefing with Governor Kivutha Kibwana, anyone found selling liquor when there is a ban will have the licence withdrawn,” he said.
Police also impounded a vehicle that was ferrying liquor to an unknown destination in Ukia shopping Centre along Machakos - Wote road.