A new breed of highway robbers are stalking motorists and passengers along the Nairobi-Nakuru-Eldoret highway.
The artery, which connects Kenya and the landlocked countries of Uganda, Southern Sudan and Rwanda, is fast gaining notoriety for increased robbery incidents.
Though attacks by robbers along the route is not a new thing, there has been a spike of daring robberies in the recent past. For instance, in the last one week, more than two incidences have been reported along the highway.
Besides matatus, the attackers are also targeting includes trucks ferrying petroleum goods, coffee, sugar, construction materials, electronics, medical supplies and other goods.
Earlier this month, fourteen passengers in a Nairobi bound matatu were subjected to a three hour robbery ordeal following a hijacking incident on the highway.
The five-man gang, two of them in police uniform, ambushed the victims after the driver of the matatu stopped to drop a passenger at Karai, which is about three kilometres from Naivasha town.
Nahashon Berkebo, a victim of the ordeal, told the Nation that the gang took control of the vehicle and sped off into a thicket where passengers were robbed of their valuables, including mobile phones and wallets.
Nearly 10 days later, police are yet to make any arrests in connection with the incident.
“We are following crucial leads and have stationed undercover officers to track down the thugs,” police boss Titus Mathuku said.
According to witnesses, the assailants fled the scene using motorcycles.
The most notorious sections of the high way are Sachangwan, Salgaa, Mai Mahiu escarpment, and Karai, police say.
In another recent incident, police officers from Nairobi gunned down seven suspected robbers after they cornered them at Kibunja trading centre in Molo, Nakuru County.
Three other suspects escaped with gunshot wounds.
Police said the suspects who were in two vehicles — a Toyota fielder and a Prado — had been trailing a truck carrying sugar from Nairobi to Eldoret.
A pistol with four bullets, a homemade gun and an an AK-47 rifle with six bullets were seized.
According to officials the suspects were in police 'wanted list’ and were trailed from their hideout in Kayole, Nairobi.
Nakuru County Police Commander Hassan Barua in an interview with the Nation said a special police unit has been formed to crack down on the robbers.
He said last week, police arrested suspected robbers in Mau Summit and seized gas cylinders that had been stolen from a vehicle along the road.