Residents of Nakuru town are living in fear following the emergence of a new gang known as Gaza.
The gang, whose members are as young as 13, has struck terror in a number of estates in the town in the last three months.
Residents say the gang has replaced another one called Confirm Group that targeted mobile money transfer service providers and clients.
Among the latest victims of the gang is 30-year-old Gerald Gitau Wanjiru, who was brutally attacked a few metres from his house after disembarking from a boda boda.
"I was on my way home from work at around 10.30pm. I was dropped a few metres from the house by a boda boda and proceeded to walk the remaining distance. A group of around 20 young men accosted me and pinned me to the ground," said Gitau.
Gitau says his attackers were aged between 13 and 19 and took advantage of their numbers to overwhelm him.
"They are very young boys, at first sight, you cannot imagine they can be so brutal. They pounce on you at the same time and overpower you by sheer numbers and weapons," he says.
Gitau, who works as a sound systems technician in local entertainment joint, had just been paid by his employer when he was attacked.
"They were armed with wooden planks, metal bars and other weapons and struck as soon as the boda boda rider disappeared. They nearly killed me," said Gitau.
A group of residents ran to his rescue, but the gang had already made its kill for the night and vanished.
By then, Gitau was unconscious after sustaining deep injuries on his head and limbs. He was taken to hospital, where the open wounds were stitched. Today, the scars on his head are a permanent reminder of the brutal attack.
Mary Wambui, a vegetables vendor at Kiratina trading center, was stabbed by the gang as she walked home.
She says at first the gang looked like a group of boys escorting one of them to the shop. She did not realise she was their target until it was too late.
"The boys threw me to the ground but I managed to get hold of one. After stealing from me, they freed the one I had grabbed by stabbing me in the arms," she said.
Peter Nyagwanga suffered a dislocated leg after the gang attempted to snatch his phone.
"I didn't expect the boys to attack me. They were too young. Just before I walked past them they surrounded me and demanded that I hand over my phone. On resisting, they pushed me to a ditch," said Mr Nyagwanga.
Residents say the gang has been targeting lone pedestrians day and night, and resort to breaking into houses when they fail to make a kill.
Last week, a youth from the area was beaten by a mob after he was found wearing clothes belonging to a resident whose house had been broken into. He was rescued by the police.
"We can no longer leave the compound after doing laundry. They sometimes pick the clothes from the drying lines in full glare of residents," says Wambui.
When they are not robbing people, the gang is spotted in small groups peddling drugs.
Among other tactics the gang has been using is pretending to be giving first aid to their target after attacking him or her. This has been common during events hosted at Afraha Stadium.
"My encounter with them was during the new year's eve. Many people lost their phones to the gang that night. I saw them unbutton a man's shirt pretending to be assisting him. When I moved closer they fled with his items, including shoes and coat," said Samwel Wafula, a security guard.
County police commander Hassan Barua assured residents that a crackdown on the gang was underway, adding that seven suspects had been arrested.
"Gaza is a new group and we are putting it on notice," he said.
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