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Police intensify manhunt for boda boda killer gang leader

Security officers have intensified the search for a gang leader behind cases of theft and murder in the larger part of the Western region.

According to security officials and the Boda Boda leadership in Busia County, at least 18 boda boda operators have been killed and over 50 injured in the last four months and their motorbikes stolen and taken to Uganda.

The gang, whose members are said to be between 15 and 25 years old, strikes often, leaving behind a trail of death and pain in its wake.

According to Western Regional Commissioner Irungu Macharia, the police have launched manhunt for the gang leader.

“This week we have conducted our investigations and our officers were able to arrest one suspect linked to the theft of motorbikes after he was named by a suspect we have in our custody for working with another suspect who was killed by the mob a month ago.

“The suspect in custody has revealed a lot of information to us on their modus operandi, how they steal, where they sell, the weapons they use, and who is their leader,” said Macharia. 

“We have the information and details of the leader in charge of the syndicate and we cannot reveal his details because it will scuttle our operations but we are after him.

“Our biggest problem has been that when we put pressure on thugs and criminals in Kenya, they cross over to Uganda and you have to consult and work with the security officials from Uganda,” he said.

Macharia said several suspects have been arrested and taken to court and security officers have managed to intercept some stolen motorbikes being transported to Uganda.

“The boda boda syndicate in Busia is a serious problem because we need to crack the cartels aiding the motorbike syndicate... We are working very well with our officers from Uganda to tame the cartels and motorbike theft in our border counties of Busia and Bungoma,” he said. The regional commissioner said the boda boda leadership row has contributed to the insecurity in the county.

The leadership row between the current Busia County boda boda chairman Boniface Okumu and the former chairman Erick Makokha has seen the emergence of two camps with a section of boda boda operators allied to the current leadership accusing Busia County Commissioner Kipchumba Rutto of siding with the former regime.

But Rutto has since distanced himself from the allegations and meddling in the affairs of boda boda leadership, maintaining that the problem boda boda operators are facing has been created by the very own people.

Last week, Okumu was released from Korinda Prison on a bond of Sh1 million after he was jailed by Busia courts for leading boda boda operators in demonstrating against the killings of their colleagues and motorbike theft.

The protestors marched to the home of former boda boda chairman and burnt his house for allegedly conspiring with thieves.

According to David Odhiambo from Matayos, whose son, a boda boda operator, was killed, the gangsters have a similar way of killing where they hack a person from behind before removing some human organs like tongues, genitals and eyes.

“Boda boda business is a death trap. We found my son lying lifeless. The body had been dumped in an open field some 200 metres from my house and his motorcycle had been stolen. He had a deep cut at the back of his head,” said Odhiambo.

Bodies of the victims are later dumped beside roads, in thickets or maize plantations. Those who have survived the savage attacks have been left nursing serious injuries.

The county has at least 60,000 riders, with about 6,000 riders in Busia town.

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