NAIROBI, Kenya May 8 – Traders at Nairobi’s Eastleigh closed their businesses for several hours on Tuesday to protest increased cases of insecurity following Monday night’s theft of Sh1.8 million from two shops.
The traders accused police of failing to protect their businesses despite having reported burglary cases several times.
“We are tired because this is not the first time these incidents are happening. Almost every week there are incidents of insecurity here. Our shops are broken into and money stolen,” one trader who runs a cosmetic shop said.
During Monday night’s incident, eight armed men are reported to have broken into two shops where they stole money and other items including cosmetics before they fled after assaulting night guards.
“They were so confident… it appears they know this area well and how the police operate because they stayed here for more than one hour,” Mohammed Lugh, the owner of one shop that was broken into said.
He said they had lost Sh800,000 while a neighbouring shop lost Sh1,000,000.
“This is our hard earned cash. It is painful when people just walk in and steal and police cannot do anything,” Lugh said.
Most shops at the popular business district of the city remained closed for the better part of Tuesday morning as owners converged in groups to ponder their next move.
“We will not open until action is taken, this is getting too much,” another trader Mohammed Ibrahim said.
Police officers led by Aphoid Nyagah of Starehe division urged the traders to resume work and assured them of enhanced security.
“I want to assure you that things will not be the same again. We are going to get those who stole your money and goods,” Nyagah said, adding “we will intensify security here.”
The traders, however, dismissed his assurances saying it was not the first time they were getting such pledges. “Let him tell us something new, we have been told that several times now,” a trader said.
Late last year, a similar case was reported in a shop in Garissa lodge where Sh11 million was stolen.
Armed police officers were deployed there to calm down the traders who demanded to be addressed by senior government officials.
Business resumed to normal later in the afternoon.