A gang in Butere gouges out victims’ eyes, rips out their tongues and genitals, and slits their throats.
Everyone — residents, security officers and politicians — is terrified of the Forty-two Brothers gang, which has terrorised the area for six months.
The gang, whose members are aged between 15 and 25, is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 40 others. It dumps victims’ bodies near their homesteads and steals nothing from them.
Last week a man was hacked to death and his body dumped on the roadside near Sabatia market. Residents held a peaceful protest last Friday, led by MP Tindi Mwale.
Kakamega leaders convened an urgent security meeting in Butere on Monday.
It was attended by Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Senator Cleophas Malala, Deputy Governor Philip Kutima, Mwale and MCAs.
The entire county security team, including county commissioner Abdulrazak Jaldesa, was present.
Oparanya said security is not a one-man show but a collective responsibility that involves those who provide protection and residents.
He said the security team came up with resolutions to end crime in Butere.
Oparanya said there is a high rate of rape in his home subcounty, and chiefs and assistant chiefs appear to be asleep on the job.
He said most rapists walk scot-free as the victims’ parents are compromised and settle the cases in kangaroo courts.
"Children are being raped and parents are persuaded to sort out the issue locally. We should not encourage this at all," Oparanya said.
He said rape cases should be prosecuted in a court of law. The governor urged residents to share information of suspicious activities to the security agents.
Malala said the Constitution should be reviewed to involve county governments in security matters.
"The Constitution doesn’t give the governors the required authority to deal with insecurity because security is not a devolved function," he said.
"We shall push for the amendment of the Constitution so that counties will be fully involved in security matters."
WORK WITH POLICE
Jaldesa said the security meeting resolved to suspend disco matanga and organise boda boda operations.
It was agreed that government officials, especially chiefs, should be vigilant and work with the police to end livestock theft.
The team said rape cases should not be resolved in kangaroo courts; perpetrators should be arrested and taken to a court of law.
The security team will also crack down on illicit liquor. The county government promised to build a police post at the fast-growing Sabatia market, which is notorious for criminal gangs and supply of illicit liquor.