Residents of Archer's Post in Samburu County are living in fear following the emergence of an armed gang that has been terrorising and stealing from them at night.
The gang, armed with a gun and crude weapons, has in the past one week broken into 12 shops in the populated town that is next to River Ewaso Nyiro and stolen items worth millions of shillings.
The attacks have forced some business people in the town to permanently close their shops.
Addressing journalists in the town, the residents lashed out at police for preventing them from operating their businesses at night instead of beefing up security.
The town is situated along the Isiolo-Moyale highway.
Mr Ibrahim Ekidor said insecurity in the area had declined until the beginning of this year when police warned them against operating their businesses past 8pm.
“All the break-ins, among other robbery cases, have happened after police introduced the night restrictions. We are yet to be told why the ban was introduced,” said Mr Ekidor.
The locals said that when businesses operate until 11pm, it becomes difficult for gangs to steal or terrorise people.
They said police officers have been roughing up those found within the town past the restricted time, instilling fear in them.
“We are now fearing the police officers more than the gang. When they (officers) meet with you at night, they beat you up without listening to you. I had a patient last night but could not go to the town to buy drugs as I feared bumping into them,” said Mr Henry Ekwam, who operates a hotel in the town.
Among those who claim to have been roughed up by police officers from Archer's Police Station is a young man who relies on sand harvesting for a living.
He says some time ago, while on his way to the river to load a lorry with sand, he was stopped by close to 10 officers who ordered him to lie on the ground. He claims he was then stripped and ordered to go back home.
Samburu East Police Commander Wilson Koske said he had not received any complaints but promised to investigate the matter.
“I am not aware of the complaints but we will investigate the issue,” Mr Koske said on the phone.
The police boss said night patrols will be intensified in the area to allow business people do their work without interference.
The residents said that if the situation is not reversed, it will impact negatively on the town’s economy and development.
They have appealed to the Samburu County government to install street lights in the town.