Police in Bungoma are investigating the link between a wave of crime in the county to remnants of a gang called “Moja Kwisha” that was wiped out in 1990s.
Bungoma South police boss Amos Cheboi said this followed the lynching of one suspected member of the gang by the public in relation to the recent wave of attacks.
The suspect, who had just been released from jail, was beaten to death at Ekitale village.
The police chief condemned the public’s move, saying the suspect could have provided crucial information about crime in the area.
Six suspects have been killed in Bungoma and Busia counties since the attacks heightened in April.
Speaking to the Nation in his office, Mr Cheboi said police were yet to establish the motive of the attacks, although security had been beefed up.
In the 1990s, the ‘Moja Kwisha’ gang terrorised Bungoma, Webuye and Sirisia residents.
Other gangs that have in the past caused mayhem to Bungoma residents include the February Eighteen Revolution Army, Angola Msumbiji and the Sabaot Land Defence Force.
Mr Cheboi said the attacks on traders were similar to previous ones on cane farmers when Nzoia Sugar Company used to pay them in cash.
“The farmers were attacked immediately they left the company. Things only improved when the firm started paying farmers through banks. Even then when asked the banks not to be releasing more than Sh500 to farmers on the first day,” Mr Cheboi said.
However, attackers in parts of Bungoma like Kikwechi did not steal anything from their victims and targeted specific homes.
“Inhabitants from Sasuri to Kikwechi are people who are new in the areas. They came from Bumula, Kakamega and Mt Elgon. There have also been land problems in the areas. It seems the gang wants to maim and cause fear to certain communities or clans,” Mr Cheboi said.
Mr Cheboi said police were also investigating the existence of Kabucha Defence Force. In Busia County some of the victims of the attacks are non-indigenous residents.