Five injured as rivals fight over miraa market in Embu town

Wednesday June 12 2019

A man sells muguka in Embu town.

A man sells muguka in Embu town. Five people were on June 12, 2019 injured after two rival groups clashed over the control of the miraa market in Embu town. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

GEORGE MUNENE
By GEORGE MUNENE
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Five people have been injured after two rival groups clashed over the control of the miraa market in Embu town.

The Mbeere and Meru traders Wednesday engaged in running battles for hours, disrupting normal business at the usually busy market.

It took the intervention of riot police from the nearby police station to restore calm.

Following the skirmishes, police apprehended seven suspects believed to have been responsible for the eruption of the chaos.

CLOBBERED

Witnesses said the five who were injured suffered head injuries after they were slashed with pangas and clobbered with clubs during the fight.

But County Police Commander Daniel Rukunga insisted that only two traders were injured but they did not record statements with the law enforcers.

It all started when the Mbeere muguka traders confronted their Meru counter-parts accusing them of invading the market and bringing unfair business competition.

A bitter exchange of words ensued which degenerated into a fierce fight.

BUYERS FLEE

The traders fought using machetes, fists and kicks, causing a commotion as prospective buyers from as far as Nairobi and other places scampered for safety.

As the battle intensified, armed police officers arrived and dispersed the warring groups.

The Mbeere traders vowed to continue blocking their rivals from trading in the area.

Meru traders are selling one kilogramme of miraa at Sh300 while their Mbeere counterparts are selling it at Sh600.

"We can't compete with our Meru rivals because their prices are low. They should leave our market with immediate effect because they are making us to incur heavy losses," a muguka trader said.

APPEAL FOR DIALOGUE

Embu nominated MCA Martin Mwangi appealed to the groups to agree on how they should trade together without hurting one another.

"Since the miraa market is liberalised, the traders should discuss the best way of doing business instead of fighting," he said.

Police boss Rukunga explained that the Meru traders were licensed by the Embu County government to sell their commodity in the local market and they should not be fought.

"The Meru traders are carrying out their businesses legally because they pay levies to the devolved government and the Mbeere traders erred when they at-tacked them," he said.

Mr Rukunga said those arrested were being interrogated and would be charged with creating a disturbance.

"We shall not tolerate hooliganism in this area and those who caused chaos will not be spared," he added.

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