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Security concerns mount for Kenyans

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 6 – Police now say security has been intensified in all parts of the city, particularly in areas considered hotspots for criminals.

This follows numerous complaints by city residents including students at the University of Nairobi who have fallen victim to armed robberies and muggings in the campus vicinity.

In some instances, rape cases have been reported near the bridge at Chiromo Road which is frequented by students crossing through to Museum Hill roundabout from classes to their hostel mainly at night.

Some of the students interviewed by Capital News said a gang of about five men has been operating in the area where dozens of students have lost valuables in recent weeks.

“It is a dangerous zone, the situation is so bad lately because security lights do not work. We are having a lot of students falling victims to robbers,” Mariam Kavai, a Physics student at the University said.

In an interview with Capital News, Ms Kavai recalled how two of her colleagues were attacked and raped recently yet no action has been taken by the police.

“One incident occurred about three months ago while another happened two weeks ago. The two girls were raped and robbed their valuables,” she said and pleaded with the government to take action.

She said most of the students who have fallen victim to the muggers were either leaving the library to their hostels or were simply headed to the bus stop to board matatus to town.

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“At night, between 7 pm and 9 pm that area is frequented by students.  Although there are police officers patrolling once in a while, it does not help because we still have cases of robberies and rape,” she said.

University of Nairobi Students Union Chairman David Osiani confirmed there were robbery incidents affecting students, particularly at night.

When reached for comment, Nairobi Provincial Police chief Antony Kibuchi said he had received the complaints and pledged to take action on the matter.

Another senior police officer at the Central police division told Capital News “We are on the lookout and an adequate number of security personnel are conducting patrols.”

“We have intensified general security in the city because there have been a lot of complaints in some areas which have been identified as dens for criminal activities,” the officer said.

He said an additional number of officers on patrol, mainly on the city streets had been doubled.

“We have increased the number of those (officers) on beat patrol and we are having more in plainclothes both during the day and at night,” another officer said.

Nairobi Town clerk Philip Kisia was unavailable for comment over poor maintenance of security lights particularly in some of the spots identified as dangerous zones for city residents.

Similar insecurity concerns such as those raised by University of Nairobi students have been highlighted by motorists on Uhuru Highway where a Kenya Airways pilot was killed on January 17.

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The late Martin Njuma was killed after his vehicles stalled near Makaburini when an unknown number of robbers attacked him and hit him on the head.

He died later in hospital.

Early this week, Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti said an investigation into the former pilot’s killing was ongoing and that more than 40 suspects had been arrested.

He also announced that police chiefs in all parts of the country were under instructions to intensify security at areas identified as crime hot spots.

“District security intelligence committees will be held accountable for enforcing security in their jurisdictions,” he said.

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