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Nairobi hawkers want IG Boinnet to deploy 400 police for protection against Mungiki

By Graham Kajilwa | January 19th 2016
People said to be city council askaris have been arresting hawkers and those who operate carwash in some areas of the CBD.

NAIROBI: A lobby group of hawkers has asked the Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet to deploy 400 police officers to reinforce security where they operate.

The group, Uzalendo Citizenship has claimed a gap and deficiency of personnel to handle criminal elements which has raised glaring security concern among the hawkers fraternity.

Led by their chair Joseph Gitonga, the hawkers claimed there is a resurgence of the Mungiki sect in the business district where they masquerade as city askaris.

"This is how they manage to extort torture and kill hawkers who do not comply with their regulations or hold different opinions," said Gitonga.

Gitonga claimed the Mungiki fight the city askaris with intimidation or collaborate with others to secure space for them to rent out to their followers: "The Mungiki leadership is in control hawking business in the city. In fact, we have evidence of their frequent meetings that are held in hotels along River Road."

Gitonga added: "Many askaris have succumbed to fights between them and the over 3,000 gang but security forces downplay it for fear of emboldening other criminals. This gang should be far more pressing a security concern than the frequent Al-Shabaab threats."

In September 2013, the then Inspector General David Kimaiyo had assigned 450 police officers to deal with criminal cases in the business district affecting traders, hawkers and matatu operators.
However, shortly the Westgate attack took centre stage and the mooted operations were never revisited.

Recently, three County askaris suspected to be perpetrators of serial killings of hawkers were arraigned in court a discharged with murder.

The city law enforcers Julius Ochieng, Protus Marigo and Alfred Maranya were accused of killing one Irungu Kamau.

They however denied the charges and their application for bail case is to be heard today.
Nairobi senator Mike Sonko has threatened to resign if the authorities do not take the necessary actions.

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