The holiday season is here again but for residents of Mombasa insecurity remains the biggest blight that dims its shine.
As the coastal county ushers in December together with its usual herd of merrymakers, top on the to-do list for the authorities is how to secure the thousands of domestic and international visitors, with the leadership, including Governor Hassan Joho, increasingly getting the jitters over the tenuous situation.
Incidence reports from various parts of the county point to potential volatility ahead of the festivities, with both Joho and county commissioner Evans Achoki acknowledging the enormity of the task ahead.
“We have challenges of insecurity. I understand that the security agents are doing their best but the reality is that we have challenges. In Kisauni, we have a gang called Wakali Kwanza.
"In Likoni, there is Wajukuu wa Bibi. Many other new gangs are coming up. We should ask ourselves what could be the cause,” Mr Joho said on Wednesday when he appeared before the Building Bridges Initiative task force in Mombasa.
At the same time as he was making the remarks, hundreds of officers descended on a Likoni enclave in a door-to-door search after a security guard was shot dead on Tuesday morning and his colleague injured. More than 200 people were arrested by police officers.
Thugs armed with AK47 rifles attacked the two guards working for Mokam security company, while guarding Likoni assistant county commissioner's office.
One of them, Daniel Etyang, was killed while his colleague Julius Oswat was shot in the leg.
At least 15 spent cartridges of 7.62mm calibre were recovered from the scene as police launched a manhunt for the gunmen, with investigations leading them to the locality.
Commissioner Achoki said security agents are mapping out all the notorious places where incidents of insecurity have been reported.
In Kisauni 15 people were murdered last month by a new gang. Mr Achoki said that three police posts have been put up in Kadzandani, Kadzonzo and Konkodia where the killings took place.
He said police are keen on beefing up security during this tourism high season as hotels record an influx of domestic tourists.
Hotels are enjoying 70 to 80 percent bed occupancy rates and eyeing more bookings.
Mr Achoki, during a meeting with owners and managers of private security firms, said more police officers will be deployed to beaches, malls, bars and nightclubs. These are usually protected by unarmed private guards.
The beaches are Jomo Kenyatta, Shelly in Likoni, Nyali, Mombasa and Mama Ngina.