Nairobi police blame lack of political handouts, festivities for rising muggings

January 22, 2018 4:42 pm
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Some criminal gangs were active during the campaigns and were directly financed by politicians, but not anymore/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 22- The spiralling crime within Nairobi’s Central Business District has been attributed to lack of finances by youths after the festive season and a prolonged electioneering period that saw them receive handouts from politicians.

Nairobi Police Chief Japheth Koome says it is a common trend in January but cautions that already a multi-agency security team has been activated to curb the menace.

“We are not going to give them a chance to harass the residents of this city. We are going to deal with them according to the law,” he asserted.

Last Friday, he says 20 suspects of mugging were arrested and arraigned in court for mugging and other crimes within the city.

Already, Koome says police are engaging the Nairobi County Government in a bid to ensure the flow of hawkers within the city is controlled while plans to profile street children are underway since some of them have been engaging in crime, while others are in the country illegally.

In December last year, he said “30 gangsters lost their lives while I also lost police officers. We shall not relent.”

The Nairobi County Commander was addressing journalists on Monday afternoon shortly after a multi-agency meeting consisting of the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), the County Inspectorate Department and other law enforcement agencies.

– Street Families –

While there are cases of genuine people in the streets, police now say a section of them are criminals.

Others are said to be foreigners, a majority coming from Tanzania and through the intended profiling process, he says they will contain the situation.

“We shall deport those who are here illegally,” Nairobi Regional Commissioner Bernard Leparmai said.

While some thugs, majority youthful, are working on their own, others are members of organized criminal gangs.

Some criminal gangs were active during the campaigns and were directly financed by politicians, but not anymore.

– The metamorphosis of criminal gangs –

As the political temperatures in the country gradually fizzle out, some criminal gangs formed during the prolonged electioneering season are changing tact with some relocating to other areas according to police.

During the electioneering period, the country saw a ballooning number of criminal gangs, majority formed for political reasons, according to National Crime Research Centre records, as well as police.

While police recorded more than 80 groups, NCRC statistics show that there are 125 spread across the country.

One of such group is the Kayole based Gaza group, which according to NCRC Director General Gerald Wandera is moving to Machakos.

“They are metamorphosing and changing tact’s for the purpose of eluding the long arm of law,” Wandera told Capital FM News.

Machakos is seen as a soft landing because of its expansive land, which Wandera say they want to engage in illegal brokerage and providing ‘security’ in construction sites.

– Hotspots –

Hotspot areas include Temple Road, Hakati Road, KTDA area Moi Avenue, Haile Selassie from railway termini towards Jesus is Alive Ministry Church.

Other areas are Racecourse Road, Uyoma Road, junction of Ronald Ngala, Pumwani Road, and the Globe Interchange.

While in the past the thugs would snatch phones and handbags, they are also removing weaves from women and pieces of jewellery.

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