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Rising gang attacks leave Kisumu in panic

By Mangoa Mosota and Maureen Odiwuor | Updated Tue, October 30th 2012 at 00:00 GMT +3

 

By Mangoa Mosota
and Maureen Odiwuor

A new wave of violence has hit Kisumu with gun-wielding gangs attacking their victims in broad daylight, killing them and injuring others in the process.

The chilling insecurity is spiralling in the town centre and residential areas, and the thugs are mainly targeting professionals and businessmen.

In other cases vehicles are hijacked in the evenings and victims forced to withdraw money from Automated Teller Machines around town.

The gangsters, who also attack with machetes, abandon their victims after terrorising them in middleclass and upper-class estates such as Mamboleo and Riat. And yesterday, a prominent Kisumu businessman-cum-politician died about three hours after being shot by two thugs armed with a G3 rifle.

Shem Kwega died at the Aga Khan Hospital and his wife, Rose Onyango, is admitted at the hospital in a critical condition.

The killing led to protests in the town centre, with more than 500 residents marching along the main streets.

The couple was shot a few minutes after 10am along Nyerere Road, near Mamba Hotel.

Blocked car

Kwega was the Kisumu Town West Constituency ODM chairman and in 2007 sought a parliamentary seat, but lost in the nominations. He owns two petrol stations in Kisumu.

A witness, Morgan Ashino, said two thugs armed with a gun blocked Kwega’s car, before he got out.

“He came out and reached for the gun, but one of the gangsters kicked and punched him on the head,” said Ashino, a motorcycle operator.

Kwega then got into his car and tried to drive away, but the thugs shot him six times, as the vehicle swerved into a ditch. His wife was also shot as the gang forcefully took a bag, allegedly carrying some money, from her.

Ashino and four other motorcycle operators followed the thugs to Nyamasaria, a criminal den, about 5km away.

More than 30 police officers drawn from Kisumu and Nyando divisions are hunting the gang, who drove from the town in a vehicle they had earlier hijacked.

The incident caught CID officers by surprise, as they were busy tracking down killers of top HIV/Aids and tuberculosis researcher, Joseph Odhiambo, who was killed a day earlier.

Hacked to death

Dr Odhiambo of Centre for Disease Control (CDC) was hacked to death at around 3pm on Saturday. He was a senior technical adviser to the CDC’s global Aids programme.

The thugs audaciously drove the scientist to his residence at a two-storey rental house where they beat him, before hurling his body onto the parking lot.

The gang drove away in Dr Odhiambo’s car and abandoned it 300m away in Obunga area.

Last week, a security guard at Kisumu Central Nyanza Seventh Day Adventist Church was killed and the gangsters made away with the offertory.

On the same day, a man was killed next to Kibuye Mixed Secondary School, near the church.

The thugs have not spared magistrates either. In April, they blocked a magistrate’s car as he was opening the gate to his house at around 11pm.

They ordered him to refill the tank with Sh3,000 fuel, bundled him into the car boot and drove around with him.

Later he realised the thugs had withdrawn some Sh40,000 from an ATM in Nandi Hills.

Luckily, they didn’t harm him.Other victims include another magistrate, a doctor and a Chinese company employee.

What is astonishing is that some of the thugs are quite young. For instance, witnesses say kwega’s attackers were in their early 20s.

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