BAMBURI ATTACK

A safe Mombasa requires multi-faceted approach

Time to overhaul the entire economic framework of Mombasa and Coast.

In Summary

• Of grave concern and a question that all Kenyans must ask is why are youth engaging in such vicious acts of violence?

• While we appreciate that Mombasa and Coast are facing hard economic times with no jobs, this should not be an excuse to engage in violence and crime

This week, Bamburi area of Mombasa county witnessed an orgy of violence perpetrated by an armed gang. The attack on innocent residents took place on Monday evening around 8pm just as the people were returning home from work.

In what witnesses reported to be wanton attack of bystanders and passersby, a gang of at least 10 to 15 youth, armed to the teeth with machetes, went on a rampage slashing people and making away with their goods. By late night, at least 11 people were injured with three of them being in critical condition.

On hearing the police were on their way, the gang members disappeared in the dark of the night leaving their victims writhing in pain as they were rushed to the hospital. Police investigations led to the arrest of five youth the next day who are believed to have been part of the gang.

 

Haki Africa categorically states that these criminal acts of youth gangs are wrong and should not be tolerated. It is not only against human rights but also immoral, unethical and criminal to attack innocent civilians who are just going about their business. Such acts are equal to robbery with violence, which is a capital offence.

For a hardworking Kenyan who is out fending for his family to be attacked in this manner with no provocation at all and injured or killed is sad and calls for urgent measures to be taken to arrest the situation.

As a society, we should not allow criminal elements to go about injuring and maiming others at will. This is unacceptable and every legal means should be used to stop the atrocities forthwith. For a hardworking Kenyan who is out fending for his family to be attacked in this manner with no provocation at all and injured or killed is sad and calls for urgent measures to be taken to arrest the situation.

Haki Africa was at the scene soon after the attack and heard first hand from witnesses the injuries and suffering caused by the gang. We heard of how shopkeepers were attacked in their shops, bystanders were stabbed as they were waiting for matatus and a woman who was attacked as she walked home.

Of grave concern and a question that all Kenyans must ask is why are youth engaging in such vicious acts of violence? While we appreciate that Mombasa and Coast are going through hard economic times with no jobs for the youth, this should not be an excuse to engage in violence and crime. Although communities should organise to improve livelihoods of all, the youth should not turn to crime particularly by harming other innocent people.

We need a proper review of laws, policies and systems to ensure the economy of the entire region is uplifted. Economic opportunities such as the Kenya Ports Authority, tourism, mining and agriculture should be re-looked into to ensure they benefit local communities and improve the livelihoods of youth in the port city of Mombasa and Coast region.

On issues of livelihood, it is about time the State seriously considered an overhaul of the entire economic framework for Mombasa, specifically, and Coast in general. Individual projects and income-generating activities that have been supported by institutions such as Red Cross and Haki Africa are merely temporary and cannot effectively address the entire issue.

We need a proper review of laws, policies and systems to ensure the economy of the entire region is uplifted. Economic opportunities such as the Kenya Ports Authority, tourism, mining and agriculture should be re-looked into to ensure they benefit local communities and improve the livelihoods of youth in the port city of Mombasa and Coast region.

Drug abuse is another issue that requires urgent attention.

 

The police moved rapidly to quell the Bamburi attack. On this matter, as human rights organisations, we stand together with the police and call for the investigation and immediate arrest of the gang members. These killer gang members must be put behind bars so the people of Mombasa can enjoy peace and security.

To boost security, the Mombasa government should consider ordering all premises on main streets be fitted with CCTV cameras so crimes can be caught on camera to assist police with arrests. CCTVs also deter crime as would-be criminals know they will be identified and eventually arrested.

Finally, to ensure safety at the Coast we require a multi-faceted approach by all stakeholders. We must all work with the police and other security and justice agencies in securing Mombasa, the Coast and Kenya in general.