About 800 students travelling from a regional music festival in Nyeri were Wednesday night stranded in Karatina town after the buses ferrying them were impounded by the police for violating night travel rules for schools.
The 20 buses were impounded at a roadblock mounted at Jambo on the outskirts of Karatina town at around 6.30pm and were still at the scene by 10.00pm.
The impounding was reportedly on orders from the central regional police commander and students were supposed to spend the night in their respective buses.
But Mathira East Sub-County Police Commander James Baraza, while confirming the incident, said they had decided that, instead of the students staying there overnight, they would be offered escort to their various destinations.
The students were mainly from schools in Murang'a, Kirinyaga and Kiambu counties.
"They had violated the night travelling ban for students but we have decided not to inconvenience them by detaining them. We have taken into account that they will need food and [they will have to] take shower in the morning, among other things we cannot afford [to offer them], hence the decision to escort them," Mr Baraza said.
Some of the bus drivers who declined to be named told the Nation that they had left Kagumo Teachers College, the venue of the festivals at around 5.30pm but were caught up in a heavy traffic jam along the busy Nyeri-Karatina highway.
And while speaking to the Nation by phone, the regional chairman of the festivals, Mr Irungu Nduati, confirmed that indeed the function ended late, at around 6pm, which is outside the stipulated time for students to travel.
"We closed the festivals at around 6pm and released the students but it was a bit late and that's why they were stopped by the police," he said.
The festivals end Friday and the winners will represent central region at the national event.