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VAS

Vandals take over Londiani-Molo railway route

RIFT VALLEY
By Mercy Kahenda and Kennedy Gachuhi | February 19th 2019

Youths sit on the railway, along Londiani-Molo line, chatting and browsing through their mobile phones.

What was previously a popular route for residents and those seeking solace in a quiet place is no longer safe. The youths accost strangers and warn them never to use the route near Kibunja forest.

At the centre of all this is railway vandalism, that has seen rails and sleepers stolen over a distance of approximately 2km.

The railway line, which saw the growth of Molo and Mau Summit towns, is also chocking with vegetation.

In some parts, it has been converted into a road covered with ballast. The heavy rails have been left lying on the periphery, perhaps until the day they will be carted off by vandals or at best taken for safe custody by police officers.

“We used to walk along the rail to enjoy fresh air within the forest. However since the vandals took over it has become a dangerous route,” said Peter Mburu, a resident.

Mr Mburu added that the vandals have been targeting the sleepers as they are easy to remove.

“The railway line has been left hanging on ballast in some areas after the sleepers onto which it was fastened were stolen. These are light and easy to remove,” he added.

On January 17, police in Molo laid a trap for vandals who had loaded railway metals worth Sh1.2 million onto a lorry.

Railways Police Station OCPD Edwin Onguari said the suspects took off when they realised they were being trailed.

“The suspects were more than 50. When they saw the police they all vanished into Kibunja forest,” said Onguari. He said one suspect had been arrested and was being interrogated.

A senior railways police officer told The Standard that some rogue officers collude with criminals to vandalise the railway line.

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