Bamburi attack shows stresses at the Coast

In Summary

• The gang appeared to be targeting residents who were not originally from the Coast

• SGR has increased the stress on the Mombasa economy because freight is now cleared in Nairobi

A victim waits for medical attention at Yeshua Medicare on Monday, August 5, 2019.
A victim waits for medical attention at Yeshua Medicare on Monday, August 5, 2019.

A gang of around 30 young men attacked residents in Bamburi at the Coast on Monday night. What is scary is that the gang appears to have targeted Bamburi because it is multi-ethnic and primarily occupied by upcountry immigrants (see P4/5).

The gang appeared from Soweto village shouting Islamic slogans. They slashed people with machetes and robbed shops and matatus.

This was a criminal gang, probably Wakali Kwanza, but the attack still appears to have had political overtones.


The Coast is very stressed. Historically a lot of its land was alienated. Land shortage is made worse by rapid population growth. Low literacy and pervasive drug use contribute to high unemployment. 

Now the decision to clear all freight at the Inland Container Depot in Nairobi has hit the Mombasa economy hard.

Tourism is a lifeline but it comes with its own cultural problems.

The Coast is a powder keg. The government has done well in its crackdown on al Shabaab at the Coast but it needs to seriously tackle the underlying economic problems of the region. Otherwise, attacks like Bamburi on Monday will only become more frequent.

Quote of the day: "The past shows clearly that we all have a common origin and that our differences in race, colour and creed are only superficial."

Louis Leakey
The Kenyan palaeontologist was born on August 7, 1903