Inspector General David Kimaiyo disbands Anti-Narcotics Unit at the Coast, shuts offices

The unit of the police service mandated to fight consumption and trafficking in narcotic drugs at the Coast has been disbanded.

Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo closed the offices of the Anti-Narcotics Unit (ANU) in the region that bears the brunt of the multi-billion shilling drug business in the country, with thousands of youths turning into zombies.

This quiet but massive move has left observers wondering what could be happening.

Besides deploying all the ANU officers to "general investigations" with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and shutting down all ANU offices in the region, authorities have also withdrawn all vehicles from all ANU facilities in coastal towns and returned them to Nairobi, without explanation.

Not replaced

The affected officers are bitter and believe there is something unusual about the transfer.

One such officer, who cannot be named for fear of victimisation, told The Standard they were suspicious of the decision to send them away without replacement.

The officers received just Sh10,000 each as transfer allowance yet most of them were being moved to far-flung areas including Mandera, Garbatulla, Bungoma, Pokot, Nyatike, Mbeere, Kuria West and Turkana East.

"We were transferred one month ago. Why have we not been replaced? We suspect some people want to do something before we are replaced," the officer told The Standard yesterday.

Head of ANU Hamisi Masa described the mass transfers as "routine".

"I am the one who initiated the transfers. They have all been transferred," Dr Masa said, adding that the entire ANU deployment at the Coast was affected.

"When a police officer is employed, he can work anywhere in the country," Masa said, arguing that the anti-narcotics work would not be affected by failure to deploy replacements.

Masa also confirmed that the ANU officers had not been replaced but did not say why.

Instead, he said, "There are other police officers who will do the work as all police officers are trained to do any work they have been assigned."

Following the transfers, which were approved by Kimaiyo on October 9, most ANU offices in the six counties of the coast region were depleted and shut down.

Whereas independent accounts confirm the offices had been shut and vehicles seized, Masa denied this.

The departing officers, who spoke to The Standard, said the relationship between all ANU officers deployed to the Coast and Masa had been frosty for a long time.

The affected officers said they believed they were being victimised or moved around for some sinister reason.

They claimed their investigation reports on the drugs business had always been rejected at the headquarters in Nairobi.

ANU is a specialised unit within the DCI and in Mombasa, the officers seconded to it are deployed at the Mombasa port, Moi International Airport and county police headquarters.

In Kwale County, ANU officers are based at the Lunga Lunga border crossing and at Diani Police Station. There is also an office in Taveta that mans the border with Tanzania.

identifies officers

In an area where the drug trade and abuse is rampant, ANU is expected to detect and investigate the infiltration of narcotics through international airports, the sea and porous international borders.

Mombasa is considered a major international transit route in the global drug trade, with barons holding sway.

Some ANU officers are often accused of protecting the barons but junior officers have also complained the barons flaunt their immense wealth to disrupt police anti-narcotics operations through sackings and transfers.

The transfers were ordered mid-October and officers ordered to report to different new stations across the country by October 27.

"The Inspector General of Police, National Police Service, has vide his letter Ref NPS/IG/ SEC/1/2/29/Vol VII/12 dated 9th October 2014, approved the deployment of the following officers," a letter signed by one Jacinta Kinyua on behalf of DCI Director Ndegwa Muhoro on October 14 reads in part.

The letter identifies the officers affected and the stations to report to.

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Inspector General David Kimaiyo Anti-Narcotics Unit National Police Service