Why Coast security chiefs were moved in reshuffle

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i (right) addresses Mombasa security officers and Nyali MP Mohamed Ali in Kadzandani, Nyali, Mombasa County, on August 11, 2019. [Maarufu Mohamed, Standard]

A wave of violence in Kisauni, Nyali and Likoni coupled with poorly coordinated war on narcotics prompted a major reshuffle of security bosses in Mombasa, The Standard can reveal.

Vigilance House is reported to have also grown impatient with activities of rogue police officers in Coast.

In the reshuffle by Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai, Coast Regional Police Commander Marcus Ochola was moved to Rift Valley.

Mr Ochola who has been in Coast region for less than one year was replaced by Rashid Yakub from Western. Yakub, a former GSU commander before being taken to Western region, is expected in the area this week. Edwin Mwaburi who was in Rift Valley moves to Western region.

Swapped positions

Also moved was Mombasa Police County Commander Johnstone Ipara who has been at the centre of Mombasa tycoon Ali Punjani house raid. He has swapped positions with Augustine Nthumbi in Uasin Gishu County. 

A fortnight ago, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i promised to carry out investigations into police laxity and weakness in the war against narcotics trade in Coast.

Dr Matiang’i was particularly irked by slow police response to gang attacks in Kisauni and Nyali sub-counties where 14 people were injured. He blamed the attacks on narcotics trade.

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Yesterday, some Mombasa leaders said the transfers appear to have been effected because of “pressure” due to the Government’s failure to deal with drug barons.

“The Government reacted because of pressure. We do not want to see the arrest of bhang smokers, we want to see the drug barons arrested,” said Nyali MP Mohamed Ali.

Mr Ali refused to discuss the content or agenda of Mombasa leaders’ meeting with Matiang’i but said the current war on drug trafficking appears uncoordinated.

He said the Government should not victimise junior officers saying “it will demoralise the police force” and derail the renewable war on narcotics in Coast region.

Police Spokesman Charles Owino and senior police officers in Mombasa did not respond to our phone calls but The Standard learnt top security chiefs had been summoned to Nairobi.

Last week, police officers raided Punjani’s home in Nyali but he was reported to be undergoing treatment abroad.

Mrs Karki Sushmita, the Nepalese wife of Punjani, Bashyal Shiva Prasad, Ram Manoj and two of their workers Lucy Njeri Njane and Bonface Maelo were arrested but were later freed.

In the same week, the police arrested Bofu MCA Ahmed Salama and 17 other people linked to narcotics trade, which occasioned militia attacks in Nyali and Kisauni.

Caused mayhem

They were also release by the court for lack of evidence.  

The changes also come barely two weeks after a machete-wielding gang caused mayhem in Bamburi where they left several people nursing serious injuries. Some of the residents sustained fractures.

Evans Achoki, who is the chairman Mombasa County security team, has also been moved to a different station.

Sgt Victor Biwot has been moved to Kamkunji in Nairobi from Inuka Police Station in Mombasa.

Several other police officers have been moved from Nairobi to other stations.

According to a letter dated August 16, this year, from Deputy Inspector General signed by Boniface Maingi on behalf of the Deputy Inspector General, the officers have been ordered to move to their new stations immediately.

The transfers which affected police officers from various parts of the country caught many officers unaware.

Mombasa residents welcomed the move and said they expect other police officers who have overstayed in Mombasa to be transferred.

Residents said they expect the incoming police bosses to address security issues in the county adequately.

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Coast Regional Police Commander Marcus Ocholawave of violenceKisauniNyaliLikoniMombasaInterior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i