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Guards injured as gun-wielding gang steals coffee in Kirinyaga

Monday October 31 2016

A night guard at Getuya Coffee Factory in

A night guard at Getuya Coffee Factory in Kirinyaga County recuperates at Mount Kenya Anglican Church Hospital, where he was taken after he was tortured by gangsters during a raid on October 31, 2016. The armed robbers stole 50 bags of coffee. PHOTO | GEORGE MUNENE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

GEORGE MUNENE
By GEORGE MUNENE
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Fifty bags of coffee worth Sh7 million were stolen Sunday night when gun-wielding gangsters raided Getuya Coffee Factory in Kirinyaga County.

During the raid, four night guards were injured and taken to Kerugoya Level Five Hospital, where three were treated and discharged.

While some residents said the guards had been sodomised, police insisted it was an assault.

A fourth guard, who suffered injuries on his private parts after he was kicked several times with boots and hit with the butt of a gun, was admitted but later transferred to the nearby Mount Kenya Anglican Church Hospital when his condition worsened.

The guards were on duty when the gangsters struck at around 1.30am.

The raiders attacked them and tied their hands and legs with ropes, warning them of dire consequences should they raise the alarm.

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They then started torturing the guards as they demanded keys to the stores where the coffee had been kept.

"At one point they kicked my private parts and inserted a pen into my anus when I told them that I did not have the keys," the guard said.

BEHAVED LIKE BEASTS

Speaking from his hospital bed the man, who cannot walk due to the severe injuries inflicted on him, said the raiders behaved like beasts.

"They subjected me to all manner of torture thinking that I was lying to them that I did not have the keys," he said.

When they were finally given the keys by one guard, the robbers opened the stores and took the bags of coffee and loaded them onto three pickup trucks and escaped.

After the gangsters left, the guards screamed for help, drawing the attention of scores of residents, who rescued them and rushed them to the hospital.

Police boss Mohammed Huka said officers rushed to the factory immediately after they were informed of the raid.

"We did not hesitate when we got information of what was happening," said Mr Huka.

ACTED QUICKLY

The police boss told the Nation that officers swung into action soon after the raid and apprehended a fifth guard, who was not on duty when the violent robbery took place.

"We are holding a guard in connection with the robbery. He is assisting us with investigations," Mr Huka added.

Some residents said the theft was an inside job and urged the police to get to the bottom of the matter.

"Some workers may have colluded to steal our coffee and the police should leave no stone unturned," said one of the farmers.

The farmers said they had incurred heavy losses as the coffee that was lying in stores awaiting to be sold had not been insured.

Getuya becomes the third factory to be raided by well-organised coffee thieves in the past one month, triggering protests from farmers.