At least 12 people were injured in Eldoret on Thursday, three of them shot by police in confrontations between security teams and hawkers.
The protests erupted when Administration Police and Uasin Gishu county askaris tried to evict the hawkers from the streets.
According to county security advisor Paul Ruto, the hawkers refused to move to a new market set up for them and operated in the CBD. County askaris carried out the eviction with AP officers as backup.
“We have urged them to use the market the county put up for them but they have been unwilling and are operating on the streets against county regulations,” Ruto said.
Those injured were admitted to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital. Several hawkers and people suspected to be criminals were arrested in the fracas.
RESTORE ORDER, FIGHT CRIME
Video clips of forced eviction of hawkers sparked sparked outrage in the town.
Silas Tarus, spokesman for Governor Jackson Mandago, the eviction was aimed at restoring order to the hawking business and stopping rising crime in the back streets of the town.
“This is a complex matter because at the end security teams recovered drugs and some weapons from people masquerading as hawkers,” Tarus said.
M-Pesa shop attendant Mercy Sitienei was caught up in fracas. She was shot in the thigh as she tried to close her shop. She required surgery.
Witness John Njenga accused the officers of using excessive force. He said they came abruptly and started shooting carelessly.
Huruma ward MCA Peter Chomba said hawkers and street children are human beings and they should be respected and should not be manhandled when they are evicted from the streets.