Two boda boda riders died and five others are fighting for their lives following a wave of lawlessness in Kisumu town and its environs in the past two weeks.
The two riders were victims of a deadly clash between members of two rival boda boda groups who fought on Thursday evening at Manyatta and Brilliant areas.
One of the victims, Alex Osewe, a student at Kibabii University was killed on the spot while the other one, Johaness Oduor, died later at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital where his three colleagues are admitted in critical condition. The casualties suffered knife and panga wounds.
The killing of the two young men came at a time when Kisumu is grappling with insecurity. Last week, robbers broke into the Kibos Police Post and stole three rifles, and 150 rounds of ammunition. One suspect has already been arrested and one firearm recovered.
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Police yesterday launched investigations into the incidents as residents linked the clashes to the emergence of a gang of motorcycle riders.
Witnesses said trouble started after the boda boda riders association officials started enforcing the directive by the government that their members carry no more than one passenger.
But some riders still went ahead to defy the directive prompting the association officials to confiscate their motorcycles, sparking a fight.
However, police have refuted claims that the first victim, Osewe, was carrying an excess passenger when he was attacked saying he may have been caught up in the fight at Manyatta.
One man, believed to be the ringleader of the attackers, was yesterday arrested. Police also recovered an assorted of crude weapons at the offices of the Association. Also recovered were more than 30 motorcycles said to have been confiscated from various riders by the Association.
Kisumu Central OCPD Martha Ngetich yesterday said they had launched a hunt for more culprits behind the death of the two riders.
“We are searching for the cuprits and we will ensure they face the law,” said Ms Ng’etich.
The fight that went into the curfew left bloody scenes at Manyatta and Briliant areas.
Among those currently nursing serious wounds are Peter Ochieng, Bernard Ombwayo, Jacob Ochieng, Paul Ogindi, and Clifford Juma.
Others escaped with minor injuries and were treated and discharged.
According to Kisumu County boda boda association organizing secretary Fred Ouma, the fight was triggered by the open defiance of the riders to obey the government directive.
“We were going round asking fellow riders to obey the government directive for their own good but some of them were defiant,” Ouma said at his office in Brilliant Estate
Further, he revealed that the association carried out impromptu checks in various estate roads and found a number of people were not complying with the safety precautions.
“Our officials stopped them and confiscated their motorbikes. Some complied while others defied,” he revealed
And in a strange twist, Kondele MCA Joachim Oketch and resident association leader Elvis Anyona have called for the disbandment of the association.
“We wonder why the boda boda organisations that are supposed to look after the welfare of their members are taking the law into their hands,” claimed Oketch.
We want to know which sections of the law allows the boda boda officials to arrest and detain bikes at their offices,’’ posed Oketch.
Anyona who reported the incident to Kondele OCS Joseph Nthinga claimed that some suspected criminals had infiltrated the boda boda business through the CBOs.
Meanwhile, at the late Osewe’s house, neighbours, family and friends thronged the deceased’s house to condole with the widow.
And despite the government directives on social distancing, mourners discarded safety measures as they interacted and mingled with each other in deceased’s house.
The widow, Sarah Akoth was overcome with grief as she recounted seeing her husband off that morning and now he would be coming back in a coffin. Akoth who spoke to the Sunday Standard at their house in Manyatta slums disclosed that her husband was pursuing Diploma in Teaching.