, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 29 – The re-emergence of two criminal gangs in the lakeside city of Kisumu after the dreaded Bhagdad Boys in the early 1990’s during the clamour for multi-party rule brings focus to laxity on the security apparatus in the region.
The defunct Bhagdad Boys, a criminal group that left a trail of disasters in Kisumu city and its environs as the country agitated for multi-party democracy has now ushered in two new entrants “China Squad” and “American Marine” with similar ideologies.
For the last two weeks police officers in Kisumu have been battling to dismantle the two groups that had been in existence for quite some time.
Nyanza provincial police Chief Joseph Oletito has warned that police will not take sides but will ensure the gangs are dismantled.
Crashed, despite accusations from American Marines that police is fueling more violence in the city by leaning towards their opponent.
“These are terror groups and we don’t want to engage them more on peaceful coexistence,’ he said, as the situation escalated a week ago with calls to unconditionally release suspects arrested by police and are aligned to American Marine.
Security agents led by Nyanza PC Francis Mutie last week met the two groups to iron out the impasse that has been traced to supremacy battle at the Kisumu Bus Terminus, while others linked it to political war.
Mutie then called upon the youths to report any police officer abetting crime in the city and allayed fears that administration police and their regular counterparts are at logger heads.
The PC was shocked to learn how police officers collude with criminal gangs to terrorize the city residents instead of offering protection and curtailing the formation of terror groups.
“What I heard from these youths is shocking and action must be taken against police officers abetting crime. We will transfer all the officers who were mentioned to restore security,’ he said.
Mutie however said no terror group will be left to thrive and compromise the peace that Kisumu residents have been enjoying and directed the provincial police boss to ensure such groups do not exist.
Many Kisumu residents feels that the bad blood between the two organised criminal groups stems from the fact that a presidential candidate used youths from the China Squad to organise a political rally.
“This war is about money that was given to China Squad members to organise the rally. American Marine members were left out since they are ardent supporters of another presidential candidate,” said Collins Omondi, a city dweller.
There is a strong feeling among the Kisumu residents that millions of shillings have been poured in the region for the purpose of undercutting the political clout and influence of a popular presidential candidate.
Another school of thought points to a supremacy battle for the control of the Kisumu Bus Terminus where most youths from the two groups own stalls that are rented out.
American Marine members for quite some time had been at the helm of the bus terminus controlling stalls being put up until four months ago when China Squad sprouted sparking bloody confrontations.