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THUGS WALK IN GROUPS

Special anti-mugging squads formed to fight city robbers

The teams will also help fight crimes committed by people using motorcycles.

In Summary

•The officers will now be deployed at bus stops where they will be on the lookout for muggers.

•Police say their statistics show mugging increases at weekends.

Police spokesman Bruno Shioso.
THUGS WALK IN GROUPS: Police spokesman Bruno Shioso.

Special police units have been formed to handle rising robbery cases in major towns. 

Regional commanders have been ordered to separately handle the crisis by forming the teams.

Passengers have been attacked and robbed especially during traffic jams.

The officers will now be deployed at bus stops where they will be on the lookout for muggers.

The teams will also help fight crimes being committed by people using motorcycles.

Police call centres have been receiving distress calls on victims and witnesses at specific places and a probe has been blamed on particular gangs.

Police spokesman Bruno Shioso said the teams on the ground had made progress in tracing those behind the trend in some areas.

“We have handled robbery with violence incidents including the ones that involve boda boda riders,” he said.

The teams are engaging motorists and especially public service vehicle operators to identify and name thugs behind some of the incidents.

The muggers at times attack pedestrians struggling to board vehicles while others pickpocket their targets.

“We have been engaging the operators through a sensitisation programme on abiding by the rule of law,” he said.

The teams have been profiling the gang leaders, some of who have changed their areas of operation.

Some have shifted to rural towns because of politics where they are preying on targets.

On Monday night, a police squad tracked and arrested three gang leaders along Chiromo Road near the Dusit complex in a shootout.

One of the suspects is said to be a gang leader of a group that attacks pedestrians and motorists in Kileleshwa.

Police say their statistics show mugging increases at weekends.

A visit to three police stations in the CBD on a Sunday evening revealed a link between school closures and the rise in violent crimes.

The thugs walk in groups to attack unsuspecting Kenyans, making away with mobile phones, cash, shoes and other personal valuables.

An officer assigned to patrol the streets said the crooks are ruthless.

“They mug their targets in groups and repulse any form of resistance. Some instances have turned serious and left victims with injuries,” he said.

In Nairobi, the streets most targeted include the service lanes of Kenyatta Avenue, Kaunda Street, Standard Street, Muindi Bingu Street, Banda Street and Taifa Road.

Other areas are Kirinyaga Road, Bus Station, Ambassadeur, Kencom, Nyamakima, Hilton area and Kimathi streets.

The attackers are usually well organised and focused. This has forced authorities to increase the number of police on patrols on these streets to enhance security.

The number of private security guards on the streets have been increased because of fears of attacks on shops.

This follows incidents where some shops were broken into and goods stolen by goons who pretended to be participating in photo sessions.

Officials warn there are people in Nairobi who are ready to kill and injure to take anything valuable from defenceless victims.

Police advise those affected to cooperate.

“You may be hurt while trying to resist. These are criminals attacking and it is good for one to cooperate and surrender when you can,” an officer said.

Every week, tens of muggers are arrested but police usually find it hard to proceed with prosecuting them because there are no complainants and witnesses to sustain the case.

“We encourage those affected to always report these incidents because they help in policy issues,” Nairobi police boss James Mugera said.

 

Edited by Kiilu Damaris

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