NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 1 – Police raided a popular Nairobi strip club and arrested at least 15 people on the New Year Eve, the latest in a series of crack downs on night spots deemed to promote immorality in the city.
Officers of the General Service Unit, a paramilitary wing of the Kenyan police, pounced on club in View Park Towers at about 10.30 pm on Wednesday as revellers were waiting to usher in the New Year.
About 12 young women caught strip dancing and their male clients were hauled into police trucks and driven to Central Police Station where they were booked.
Central deputy police boss Richard Muguai, who led the operation, ordered the club’s Disco Jockey to switch off music. The detainees, including barely-dressed girls, scrambled to escape jostling journalists and cameramen intent to grab their images.
The club’s management and overnight staff were spared the raid, which police said it aimed at rooting out immorality the city.
“A lot of immorality has been going on in this bar. What I have seen confirms the information to be very true,” Mr Muguia told reporters.
“Some of them are near nudity; you even wonder what kind of people they are. How can you undress in front of people,” Mr Muguai he added, vowing to intensify raids across the city.
“They will definitely appear in court,” he said. Although he did not disclose the charges to be brought against the arrested, prosecutors have previously preferred ‘loitering in with the intent to cause a crime’ charge against such detainees.
A strip dancer, who refused to reveal her identity, told Capital News they were arrested because of dancing. She blamed journalists for instigating the raid, but defended her dancing ‘occupation.’
“You are the people who spoil for us. This is business like any other,” she said, although many of her colleagues refused to talk to reporters.
Officials told Capital News that the raid was a culmination of undercover investigations.
Nairobi provincial Police chief Njue Njagi vowed the crackdown on night spots deemed to promote prostitution.
“I will not allow such clubs to continue carrying out these acts of prostitution. My officers are under strict instructions to raid all of them because I understand they are quite a number in town,” he told Capital News on telephone.
In most strip clubs in the city, women dance for men at a fee ranging from Sh100 to 1000, depending on the customers’ cravings. Lap dances are the most expensive charged at between Sh500 and Sh1000.
Rights activists have increasingly blamed police for failing to enforce rules that bar operations of strip clubs, most of which have been accused of targeting under-age girls. In addition, they complain that such habits facilitate the spread of HIV/AIDS.