More than 40 teenagers have been rounded up by police in drugs and drinks fuelled parties, barely 24 hours after similar arrests were made in Nairobi.
Yesterday’s arrests in Samburu and Bungoma counties came hours after 44 minors were busted in a house in Nairobi’s Mountain View estate after police stormed a house party and recovered alcohol, bhang and used condoms.
The latest arrests come even as shocking details emerge of teenagers being lured into possible sex and drug dens with police issuing yet another warning about increasing dissemination of content with child pornography.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) said they were alarmed by several videos and photos of child nudity doing the rounds online.
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“It is unfortunate that such individuals are doing so, not only in contravention of the law, but also ignoring the negative impact of their actions on the lives of the minors. We wish to remind those circulating such photos and videos that such acts are punishable by law,” DCI said on their official social media pages.
The warning came a few hours after several cases of teenagers being lured into homes to participate in sex orgies and parties where drugs area distributed were revealed. The arrests in Nairobi’s Mountain View estate were made on Saturday.
Several rolls of cannabis and empty bottles of alcohol were recovered from the scene.
Before then, a group of teenagers who had disappeared from their Nairobi homes were found in Thika after they had been reported missing for several days. Police suspected they were attracted by a message sent online.
Even as the cases unfold, lifting the lid on the underworld of what happens in the social media platforms that teenagers visit, the focus is now on parents and how to keep children safe.
“The children are bored. They have stayed home for many months with nothing to keep them busy. Add that to the fact that they are at the age where they experiment the most, the result is a disaster,” said Saida Swaleh, a social worker who focuses on adolescents in Kibera.
She said in the last few months, she had teenagers confessing to her about experimenting with drugs and having sex “for fun”.
“The things young people are getting online are scary. They watch porn, gamble and some are even conning people online,” said Ms Swaleh.
The 20 teenagers held in Maralal town were aged between 15 and 17 years. They were arrested at 12am yesterday in a rented house within the town as they were partying and consuming alcohol.
Maralal town assistant chief Celina Lemakara led police officers, Nyumba Kumi officials and village elders to the house.
The Forms One and Form Four students - five girls and 15 boys - from a local school had bought assorted alcoholic beverages, cigarettes and khat.
“They were heavily intoxicated and could not immediately comprehend where they were and what they were doing,” Mr Lemakara said.
Samburu police commandant Samson Ogallo said they were hunting for the person who sold alcohol to the teenagers.
Lemakara, who has been conducting a crackdown on bars, violating the curfew imposed by the government to curb the spread of coronavirus, said some bar owners sold alcohol to crowds of people in rental houses at night.
“All bars and shops selling wines and spirits are supposed to close at 9pm, but people have shifted to selling alcohol in homes at night,” he said.
Gulleid Mohamed, the chairman of Nyumba Kumi in Maralal sub-location, asked parents to monitor their children at all times.
“We are surprised that a house supposed to provide shelter for children has turned out to be a bar,” he said.
In Webuye town, at least 21 teenagers were busted partying in a restaurant in town on Sunday evening.
Police acting on a tip-off, waylaid the girls and boys aged between 11 and 16 “having a good time” at around 5pm.
Webuye East police commander Valerian Obore said they arrested the 21 “but some fled the scene upon sensing danger”.
[Mercy Adhiambo, Michael Saitoti and Micah Sali]