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September 26, 2018

Juvenile killings in Mombasa alarming, crimes escalating - activists

Topista Juma (right) of Muhuri, during the group's conference on strengthening women's capacity in preventing violent extremism, at Pride Inn Hotel in Mombasa, March 19, 2018. /ERNEST CORNEL
Topista Juma (right) of Muhuri, during the group's conference on strengthening women's capacity in preventing violent extremism, at Pride Inn Hotel in Mombasa, March 19, 2018. /ERNEST CORNEL

The rate at which juveniles in Mombasa's Likoni and Kisauni areas are killed through lynching is alarming and matters are getting out of hand.

Activists and a police officer said this as they shared their views on crimes by juvenile gangs on Monday.

This was during Muhuri's conference on strengthening women's capacity and enhancing their collaboration with state and non-state actors in preventing violent extremism.

The women revealed that these teenagers meet their deaths through mob actions such as stoning because of committed crimes.

Topister Juma of Muslims for Human Rights said four minors in Likoni and three in Kisauni were killed two weeks ago.

Many cases are unreported, she said, noting the figures are "overwhelming".

"The dead are believed to have been members of dreaded gangs in the county," the senior human rights officer said, adding parents and politicians are abetting crime.

Mercy Ngari, from the Children Department in Mvita, said many adolescents are arrested daily over "serious" offences ranging from stabbing, slashing and robbery.

Yvone Mwololo, of Likoni Human Rights, noted the young criminals in the constituency are "ruthless and heartless".

"They can slash and stab you without fear," she said during their meeting at Pride Inn Hotel.

When a report is made, she complained, parents are quick to defend them making the fight against the crimes and their involvement difficult.

 The women further protested that the migration of these gangs has fuelled attacks and loss of innocent lives.

Juma said: "Likoni is now worse. Kisauni cooled because politicians stopped bailing crminals out. As a result, the kids escaped to Likoni. Now we are informed they are moving to Changamwe."

Gangs in the county, including Wakali Kwanza, terrorised residents forcing the government to declare them outlawed groups. Some of the group's leaders have been felled by police bullets while some members have surrendered.

More on this: [VIDEO] Police gun down Wakali kwanza gang leader in Kisauni

Caroline Oduory, of Women for Defence, noted that banning the gangs won't end crime but radicalise them further.

"What we need is community dialogue," she said.

A police officer only identified as Grace said the service is pained by the rate at which the deaths are occurring.

She added: "Police, especially women who are parents, feel sad when they are burned to death."

Juma said the best bet is for parents to take their roles seriously.

"Our parents brought us up well. I don't know why we are overpowered by our responsibilities. We have tasked their teachers with taking charge yet these minors don't report to school," she said.

She added police can esnure security though in a manner that will create fear because they are merciless.

"This is why we are calling on women to act. The situation is getting out of control we must make change," she said.

Read: Careful, you might worsen youth radicalisation, Muhuri tells security forces

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