Criminal gangs in Nakuru County are using drones to monitor security agencies’ movements and activities.
The tactic is by gangs including “Confirm”, which is considered one of the most dangerous in Nakuru Town.
“We have received information that the gang is now using drones to carry out criminal activities. Security agencies have taken that challenge seriously,” Nakuru County Commissioner Erustus Mbui said on Thursday.
Mr Mbui spoke in Nakuru Town during the County Engagement Forum organised by Midrift Human Rights Network to prevent and counter violent extremism among the youth.
He said the drones are easily available and that the criminals who use them, including jobless youths frustrated by Covid-19 restrictions, pretend they are for gathering news.
Some security agencies have pointed the finger at politicians, accusing them of sponsoring the criminals.
“Evil politicians have taken advantage of the situation. Instead of discouraging the youth from crime, they sponsor some of the activities” said Mr Mbui.
He added: “In the case of “Confirm” gang, we know where they get funding. We have information that some of the patrons are hiding them in their houses. We shall soon expose them.”
Nakuru residents have accused cartels in law enforcement of doing little to arrest the criminals.
“Police know the hideouts of these criminals but when they arrest them, the criminals are released without being taken to court,” said a resident of Kivumbini, where the gang operates.
However, Mr Mbui absolved the police from blame.
“Some politicians are using their money to defeat justice. I know some of those who are hiding these criminals. Where do these gangs get money to buy drones? I’m ready to go to Bondeni and name the politicians hiding criminals”
He continued: “If we wait for the criminals to be dealt with by the court … it might be too little too late. Last year, a politician was arrested for planning to burn a petrol station but the matter is still pending in court. Is that the fault of the police? Is it the police who have delayed the prosecution?”
Insecurity is high in the parts of Nakuru, where “Confirm” operates. These include Flamingo, Kimathi, Lakeview, Bondeni, Kivumbini, Manyani, Kwa Rhonda, Kaptembwa, Free Area and Kaloleni slums.
In Naivasha, the gangs operate in the sprawling slums of Kihoto and Karagita.
A notorious gang known as “White Eagle” has been terrorising residents of Hell’s Gate along the shores of Lake Naivasha. The group has also swindled Kenyans out of hundreds of thousands of shillings through fake mobile telephone transactions.
As a result, residents of Kaloleni C and Flamingo Phase Two have reinforced their fences with iron sheets while some business owners have opted to shut down.
Commissioner Mbui, who said detectives are aware of the criminals’ new tricks, warned that they will be arrested and punished.
“The ‘Confirm’ gang has started rearing its ugly head again in Kwa Rhonda and Bondeni estates,” he said.
He added that members of “White Eagle” have complained of interference with fishing activities and have started blocking roads around the lake and threatening investors.
Midrift Managing Director Joseph Omondi said his organisation is working closely with security teams to prevent and counter violent extremism in Nakuru County.
“Our primary objective is to support the government in the fight. We are trying to earn the people’s confidence as this will help us detect and deter criminal activities at community level,” said Mr Omondi.
He added that the organisation is also working with Nyumba Kumi officers and educating them on how to secure their zones.
“We encourage security apparatus to develop a good working relationship with the community to ensure round-the-clock security for all,” he said.
Mr Omondi further announced that Midrift will push for enactment of the Peace Bill that is at the Nakuru Assembly, as it addresses challenges in curbing insecurity especially during election years.
Among those who attended the workshop were Njenga Miiri, Head of the prevention and resilience department at the National Counter-Terrorism Centre, top Police officers, county government officials, youth representatives, ward representatives, religious leaders, social workers and educationists led by Prof Rose Odhiambo of Egerton University.