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State urged to act as gangs ‘take over’

By -DENNIS ONYANGO | April 23rd 2013


Kisumu,Kenya:Kisumu residents blame laxity on the part of law enforcers, alleging that the latter work in cahoots with criminals to make life in lakeside city slums a living nightmare

Their names spell fear and doom for visitors. The residents here have never known peace; they live in perpetual fear of being attacked by gangs.

Welcome to the slums of Kisumu where robberies, carjacking, drug trafficking and looting of property are part of life. These slums include Obunga, Nyalenda and parts of Manyatta.

It is in Obunga that criminal activities have taken over and become order of the day.

Police recently accidentally shot a 34-year-old mother while pursuing fleeing robbers, seriously injuring her.


The mother of four was caught up in the shootout between the police and the robbers as they fled.

 A few metres from where the mother was shot, a robber killed his accomplice following a dispute on how to share their loot.

The area surrounding Kondele estate is the most affected whenever there are riots in the county, with looters taking advantage of the situation. The residents blame the situation on laxity of the police and some illegal businesses in the area.

 “This area has seen an alarming upsurge in insecurity. The police have failed in their duty to protect us and this unmasks the vulnerability of ordinary Kenyans,” said Paul Ouma, a resident.

Albert Otieno, also a resident, says insecurity has been fuelled by police officers who collude with criminals to rob locals and share the loot.

“The police officers work in cahoots with the gangs. The ‘good’ working relationship between them is evident because there are incidents where members of the public have caught (sic) police officers with stolen goods,” he alleged.

Kenneth Owiti, who is an ACK cleric in the area, says property and lives have been lost at the hands of gangs. According to him, insecurity in the area is mainly caused by drugs such as bhang and illicit brews.

“Changaa brewing is the major economic activity in this estate. Gangs find a safe home here. They consume these drugs and later turn to haunt the residents,” Owiti said adding that efforts by local leaders to restore peace in the area have hit a snag.

 “Our campaigns for security have been mocked by these challenges that have become deeply rooted in the area; nothing has changed,” he said.

People fear running businesses in the area. Few entrepreneurs who have taken risk by opening small retail shops close them as early as 5pm due to the uncertainty.

Full force

“Insecurity in this area has reached a tipping point, eroding the confidence of entrepreneurs,” said Ken Oluoch, a shopkeeper.

The residents are now urging the Government to urgently restore sanity.

“The Government must move with speed to restore order by undertaking a radical surgery in its security organs. The reckless or overwhelmed police officers must be sacked or replaced with those who can tackle the problem,” said Tobias Onyango, a boda boda operator in the area.

Nyanza police boss Joseph Oletito is warning criminals in the region, saying that the police will not allow gangs to further disrupt security.


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