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Kisumu residents living in fear as vicious gangs terrorise estates

Some of the victims who are nursing injuries after attacks. [Sharon Owino, Standard]

Early this week at around 8pm, Philip Onyango, 24, was walking back home from the market when he saw a motorbike approaching him with full lights on.

Moments later, he says, someone hit him with an object and he lost consciousness. When he regained his senses, he found himself surrounded by strangers trying to help him.

He was bleeding profusely on his head and his pockets had been ransacked. 

The suspects also got away with food worth Sh200 which he had bought.

“The well-wishers administered first aid to me and rushed me to the hospital,” he says.

Onyango, who was accosted in Mowlem area, is among several Kisumu residents nursing injuries after being attacked by machete-wielding gangs.

Members of the gang are said to use motorbikes, attacking and robbing residents at secluded places and in estates.

Like Onyango, a number of victims are nursing injuries in hospitals while the unlucky ones have succumbed to their injuries.

The most affected neighbourhoods are Nyamasaria, Manyatta, Buoye, Ofunyu, Mowlem, Nyalenda and Lolwe.

The cases have increased in the last two weeks, just after the General Election. Some residents are pointing an accusing finger at political gangs that have now been rendered jobless after the end of the campaigns.

Mike Omollo is another resident who has borne the brunt of the gang’s brutality. The Ragumo resident was walking back home from work on Friday last week at about 8pm when a sharp object landed on the back of his head and he soon lost consciousness.

When he woke up, he started crying out for help from the neighbours since he was just close by his house. His cries made the gang of three men run away. He said he was attacked by three machete-wielding men.

Omollo said apart from the injury on his head, the thieves stole his mobile phone worth Sh17,500, which was barely a week old.

“I am just glad that I am still alive after the ordeal. I would have died had my neighbour not come to my rescue on time,” he said.

On his part, Paul Ouma from Ofunyu village in Kisumu East heard his dogs back relentlessly two nights ago when he decided to check if all was well.

Ouma said he saw a man peeping from his cowshed and decided to take the stranger head-on. After a scuffle, he recognised the culprit as his neighbour’s son.

“After struggling with him for about 10 minutes, he succeeded in scratching my head with a sharp object and escaped,” he said.

He was bleeding profusely and his wife called a neighbour who took him to hospital.

In Manyatta, Maurice Ouko also became a victim of the gang after he was waylaid on his way back to his house. The gang blocked his path with a motorbike and hacked him on the head. He sustained deep cuts as a result.

“I was from work and was walking home when I was attacked. One of them had wrapped a machete in a sack,” he said.

In the last couple of days, social media has been awash with complaints of such attacks as residents narrate their ordeal at the hands of robbers.

While the police have downplayed the resurgence of crime in the lakeside city, residents say they are no longer safe. 

In Lolwe and Migosi estates, house break-ins have become the norm, with several residents saying that their houses have been broken into at night.

Activist Boniface Akach said in a span of one week, they have received reports of nine cases of injured victims from Mowlem area alone.

Akach has urged the government and authorities in charge to quickly address the matter to protect residents of Kisumu who he now terms as “endangered species”.

However, Kisumu East OCPD James Mwendwa said only four cases had been reported to the police in the last one month, with one culprit already in police custody as investigations continue.

Mwendwa urged the public to beware of the videos spreading online as many are not from the areas the posts on social media claim.

“The police are alert and have so far recorded four cases which are all under investigations. The culprits will be brought to book and dealt with according t the law,” he said.

He urged residents to report suspects or give helpful information they might have to help in the arrest of suspects.