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Highway drama as lorry crew 'kidnap' police

Friday January 31 2020

Police officers mount traffic check along the Mombasa-Malindi highway.

Police officers mount traffic check along the Mombasa-Malindi highway in Shanzu. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

CHARLES LWANGA
By CHARLES LWANGA
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Police in Malindi are detaining two men over alleged kidnapping of fellow officers who were manning a security roadblock in Sabaki, Kilifi County.

Malindi Sub-County police boss Vitalis Otieno confirmed the incident yesterday, saying the suspects are a lorry driver and the loader.

They are detained at Malindi Police Station.

“But kindly contact the Magarini OCPD for more information concerning the issue since the offence happened in his jurisdiction,” he said.

The Magarini police boss, Elisha Chebet, however, could not be immediately reached for comment.

According to witnesses, police were going about their daily routine of inspecting vehicles at Sabaki bridge when they flagged down a lorry approaching the roadblock for screening.

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HIGH SPEED CHASE

Joseph Mwangu, the local chairman of boda-boda operators, said the lorry, which was loaded with salt and charcoal, sped off as two police officers began to open sacks that were on the lorry.

“The driver sped off immediately the officers climbed on board the back of the lorry to inspect it, causing panic among members of the public and fellow officers,” he said.

Mr Mwangu said boda-boda operators followed the lorry while shouting at the driver to stop.

“We asked the driver to stop but he ignored us,” he said, adding that by the time they got to Alaskan, hundreds of boda-boda operators were following the lorry since they suspected that the driver and loader were Al-Shabaab militants.

Police officers also followed them and even shot in the air but the driver ignored them and kept driving.

Later on, boda-boda operators erected a roadblock made up of stones and logs at Thalathameli along the Malindi-Mombasa highway.

Mr Mwangu said the lorry only stopped after the driver lost control. The suspects were arrested and taken to Malindi Police Station along with the lorry.

Police sources say they are treating the situation as a hijacking incident.