Boda boda riders in Engineer, Nyandarua County on Tuesday night raided, demolished and burnt down miraa and muguka kiosks, saying that they are harbouring criminals.
Lead by their chairman John Ruga, the riders said increased criminal activities witnessed in the area are planned at the kiosks.
“We have decided that enough is enough; criminal gangs spend the entire day in the kiosks planning criminal activities. Cases of muggings and burglaries are on the rise in this town. They spend their ill-gotten money in these dens,” said Mr Ruga.
Mr Joel Ng’ang’a, a boda boda rider, said all such kiosks will be demolished.
“Security has deteriorated in Engineer town and as boda boda operators, we know that the criminals terrorising us idle at the outlets waiting to strike. The dens operate on a 24-hour basis. Security agents have failed to intervene. We must save ourselves from the criminal gangs; we are evicting them from this town,” said Mr Ng’ang’a.
He said young men patronising the dens are strangers in the area and it is not known where they live since they are always at the miraa kiosks.
Some residents who supported the move by the boda boda riders to get rid of the kiosks said miraa should be sold as a takeaway item like other products from shops and not consumed at the kiosks.
Mr Simon Ruga, a boda boda official, said the miraa dealers and customers are behind the theft of motorbikes in the area and that they collude with a gang operating from Murang’a County.
“We have some of our people admitted to various hospitals including Kenyatta National Hospital after they were attacked and robbed by the criminals,” he said.
But Mr Mwangi Michuki, a leader of the miraa traders group, denied the allegations and termed the destructions as malicious.
“We do not allow criminals to patronise our business. We read malice from the attackers. They had no reason to destroy our business premises. We ask for protection from the police,” said Mr Michuki.