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Businesses brought to a standstill in Mathare as youth engage police in battles

 Youth in Mathare engaged police in running battles as Azimio staged demonstrations against the high cost of living on March 27, 2023. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Business activities along Juja Road were paralysed for the better part of the day as youth engaged anti-riot police in running battles that left pedestrians and motorists robbed of their valuables.

Trouble started in the morning when the police stopped a group of about 50 youths claiming to be Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Alliance supporters who had attempted to barricade the normally busy road at Mathare Namba 10, opposite Moi Air Base.

Police swang into action repulsing the youth before the running battles ensued. They used teargas to disperse the crowds while the youth who chanted anti-government slogans retaliated by pelting stones and hurling bottles at them.

Two children were injured and rushed to the nearby clinic inside the military base, whose officers monitored the unfolding battles from a distance.

A motorist caught in the melee had his shopping, mobile phone and cash snatched by a gang that pounced on him as he tried to reverse his car.

The gang robbed the man who was in the company of a male relative after forcefully opening the car’s doors and boot.

“They have stolen my mobile phone, some money and shopping in the boot,” said the visibly shaken man. The bumper was extensively damaged after the gang plucked the front right headlight.

A few metres away from Namba 10, pedestrians retreating back home complained of being attacked by an armed gang that demanded cash and mobile phones.

“They are carrying knives and forcing people to surrender money and phones,” said a woman who witnessed a man being robbed.

Starehe Sub-County Police Commander Fred Abuga had a rough time ensuring the youth did not succeed in blocking the road.

The youth said they will not relent until the cost of living is brought down. Traders along the road closed their businesses while public transport was disrupted forcing many to trek to their destinations.

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