State vows to wipe out Mombasa, Kwale youth gangs

Coast Regional Coordinator John Elungata (right) with Regional Police Commander Marcus Ocholla address the Media at his Uhuru Na Kazi offices in Mombasa on August, 7, 2019. [Maarufu Mohamed, Standard]
The government has vowed to crush the juvenile criminal gangs operating in Mombasa and Kwale counties.

Coast Regional Commissioner John Elungata warned that child criminal gangs in Kwale and Mombasa counties would be dealt with firmly.

Mr Elungata said police have launched a crackdown on machete-wielding criminal gangs causing mayhem in parts of the two counties with Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i set to visit Coast to assess the situation.

The warning comes after the Monday night gang attack which left scores injured in Bamburi, Kisauni, leading to a heavy security operation that has seen a suspect gunned down.

Some of the gangs reigning terror on residents include Lipa Kwanza, Timboni Mateja, Vijana wa Labour, Vijiweni Boys, Wajukuu wa Bibi, Wakali Kwanza, Wakali Pilipili, Wakali Wao, Wasasi and Watalia.

Elungata asked parents and chiefs to send children to school to curb yout crime in the region saying basic education was now compulsory and heavily subsidised by the government.

"Instead of these children being in school, they are roaming around attacking innocent people, this is unacceptable," said Elungata.

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He also warned local chiefs against permitting night discos, saying the gatherings are proscribed because they promote insecurity, drug abuse, and teenage pregnancies.

He directed the police tocrack down on disco matanga (night vigils) in the region saying the activity has contributed to crime.

Just last week, a gang of youths invaded a night disco in Shika Adabu ward, killed one person before barricading the Likoni –Lunga Lunga Road and burnt a motorbike.

"The gang killed one person during the Shika Adabu gang attack before escaping," he said adding that police are after the gang members.

The administrator was speaking in Ng’ombeni area of Kwale near the border with Mombasa when he laid the foundation stone for a new police post.

No shoot-to-kill order

He was accompanied by Kwale county commissioner Mr Karuku Ngumo and Matuga MP Mr Kassim Tandaza.

Coast regional police commander Marcus Ochola has however denied that a shoot-to-kill order has been issued against the gang members saying that they would use intelligence to track down and arrest the criminals.

“No shoot-to-kill order has been issued to the police. We have deployed vehicles, security officers and intensified intelligence gathering to deal with the criminal gangs,” he clarified.

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John ElungataKwale countyMombasaWakali KwanzaWakali Wao