Kisii politicians clash over GSU deployment to quell boda boda gang

GSU officers cordon off Kisii town boda boda riders' office over claims of an emerging gang in the town terrorising locals. [Eric Abuga, Standard]

Politicians in Kisii have issued clashing statements following the deployment of General Service Unit (GSU) officers to the town after weeks of outcry from locals on an emerging gang.

Kisii Governor Simba Arati has criticised the move, saying it is uncalled for. Meanwhile, National Assembly Chief Whip Sylvanus Osoro and Kisii Senator Richard Onyonka have defended the deployment, saying it is necessary to maintain security in the town.

The two groups of boda boda riders in the town, which represent either side of the political groupings in the County, have been at odds with each other, and the gang is said to be linked to one of the groups.

The GSU officers cordoned off the Kisii Town Boda Boda offices on Friday morning, a day after arriving in town. The office raid came two days after Arati met more than 4,000 boda boda operators at Gusii Stadium.

A senior security officer in Kisii said it is the remarks by a section of political leaders and the complaints from the public on the operations of some riders that forced the Government to act.

Kisii County Commander Charles Kasses, who was among the officers who visited the offices, declared the office a crime scene, saying the DCI was investigating reported criminal cases.

He said the office was given out by the County Government, adding that the National Police Service is not going watch as locals are terrorized.

According to Kasses, a raid by police at the office a week ago led to the recovery of several teargas canisters.

"We have recorded cases of locals being assaulted, riders arrested, and their motorbikes detained here."

Last month, the County Commander confirmed that some individuals from the office who had assaulted one of the traders had been arrested and charged in court.

In the last month, two security officers- a prison warden and a police officer from Kitutu Central had their private motorbikes detained.

One of the gang members was arrested by police on patrol in the Nyanchwa area after he confronted police, arguing that he was also on duty as assigned by his boss. Five other men who were in his accompany escaped police arrest.

On Friday last week, a Senior Ministry of Interior Official and her family were attacked at their residence in Kisii town.

For a third consecutive time, a gang broke into their houses within the Kisii Agricultural Training College, injuring her husband, who is a Director of the County Government. In the first attack, they escaped the scene, leaving behind two pairs of police uniforms and a homemade gun.

Police are pursuing at least six men in connection with the attack, with detectives indicating that they are closing in on phones stolen from victims.

Boda Boda riders had complained of extortion, with private riders facing untold suffering at the hands of the said office handlers.