By Cyrus Ombati
NAIROBI, KENYA: A hawker was Tuesday night shot dead and two others wounded in a confrontation with City Council askaris along Tom Mboya Street in Nairobi.
The man was killed near Fire Station at about 9 pm as he and others chased a council askari from down town.
Police and witnesses say the askaris had tried to evict the traders from the streets when a confrontation broke out.
According to Nairobi police boss Benson Kibui, some of the hawkers started to chase the askaris up to the scene where one of the askari who was armed opened fire killing one.
“The askari is licensed to carry a gun and he says he shot in self defence. We are investigating the incident,” said Kibui.
Other hawkers turned rowdy stoning motorists and lit bonfires on the streets up to dawn Wednesday.
The askaris and traders have in the past week been engaged in violent confrontations in a bid to remove the hawkers from the City Centre.
Police and council officials blame the situation on some city politicians who are politicising the issue by inciting the traders.
Police say some crimes like mugging, snatching and robbery go up whenever the traders are allowed to the streets.
The traders had in 2009 been pushed out of the streets and taken to Muthurwa but it is not clear why they have come back. Shopkeepers especially on Moi Avenue, Kimathi Street, Tom Mboya, Ronald Ngala, Kenyatta Avenue and other major streets complain the traders obstruct their businesses.
Apart from hawkers, there are street families who at times attack and rob pedestrians. City Hall is yet to give an explanation on the situation.