Migori residents live in fear as machete-wielding gang reigns

Wednesday March 18 2020

Masara township in Migori County. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Residents of Suna West sub-county are living in fear following heightened crime wave by a machete wielding gang operating in the outskirts of Migori town.

The gang according to locals operate between Oruba estate and Masara trading centre where several houses and businesses have been affected leaving a trail of death and severe injuries to their victims.

In a recent attack, a 35-year-old woman was attacked on Sunday morning as she left her house for work while a motor bike operator was slashed the same evening as he rode to his house.

Ms Ruth Nyambeki told Nation that she had just left for work when she was accosted by a six-man-gang who hit her with a heavy metal before descending on her with machetes.

“I was hit hard on the head with a blunt object and I screamed for help. One of them cut my forehead with a machete and warned me not to make any noise. He snatched my purse and made away with it,” said Ms Nyambeki who is recuperating at Oruba Nursing home.

Mr Martin Odhiambo, whose wife was attacked in a similar manner described the gang as a menace while blaming officers for failing to bolster security in the area despite locals making several reports.

“We have endured the attacks for a long time. Sometimes we form our own vigilantes which has helped counter the gang. The government should tell us they are unable to provide us with security because even as we are talking, a motorcycle operator was ruthlessly attacked this morning and his motorbike stolen just a few meters from the police station,” Mr Odhiambo said.

In December last year, two businessmen were waylaid and killed by unknown gangsters in Masara trading centre.

The incidents sparked protests in the gold-belt with residents accusing law enforcers of laxity.

A senior security official who sought anonymity on the matter said the suspects are well known, with some getting arrested and released in unclear circumstances.

“We have been conducting raids following tip offs from the public but most of the suspects end up being freed after a day or two without going to court,” said the officer.

The officer noted that a multi-agency team had been dispatched to hunt down members of the gang but its efforts are being jeopardised by senior officials.

Migori County Police boss Celestino Nyaga said officers were working with provincial administration to identify crime spots in a bid to weed out the terror gang.

“We are aware of the serious security threat posed by the gang and we are working with the provincial administration to identify crime spots before embarking on a serious crackdown,” he said.