Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i will tour Matungu in Kakamega County Thursday in the wake of recent killings by a criminal gang which left 13 people dead in the past one month.
Mr Matiang’i is expected at the Western Regional Commissioner’s office at 9 am for a brief meeting with security chiefs before proceeding to Matungu Sub-County.
His visit comes in the wake of demands by residents of for an overhaul of security officials in the sub-county, accusing them of failing to respond to attacks on villagers by gangs armed with machetes, clubs and metal bars.
The suspects have been raiding homes at night and viciously attacking victims by slashing them before fleeing on motorbikes.
A security operation is ongoing in Matungu which borders Siaya, Busia and Bungoma counties. A key suspect in the killings is reported to have gone into hiding. Detectives are busy piecing together information on the bizarre killings as they try to unravel the motive behind the attacks suspected to have been instigated by politicians.
What is puzzling detectives is that the criminal gangs do not steal cash or other valuables after their orgy of violence.
On Tuesday, Kakamega County Commissioner Abdirizak Jaldesa said that three politicians described as persons of interest in the killing of villagers by the armed gang have been summoned by detectives for questioning tomorrow.
Police have zeroed in on the three as fear reigned in Matungu despite the heavy presence of security officers involved in an operation targeting members of the killer gang. Mr Jaldesa said told the Nation that detectives had made good progress in their investigations.
He, however, declined to give their names, saying the move would pre-empt ongoing investigation, but added that nobody would be spared once it is established they were linked to activities of the killer gang.
“We will name the three politicians and ensure appropriate action is taken against them after ongoing investigations are finalised. The politicians have been named by residents who accuse them of funding the gang members,” said Mr Jaldesa.
Ali Mohammed the sub-county Council of Imams and Preachers (CIPK) chairman says mosques are being closed at 7.00pm after Maghrib prayers because the Muslim faithful are afraid of moving in darkness.
“This being the holy month of Ramadhan, Muslims observe most of their obligatory prayers in the night. In Matungu the faithful are not able to attend to night prayers because they fear meeting the dreadful youth,” said Mr Mohammed.
Learning in schools has also been affected as teachers and students fear for their lives.
Mr Boniface Atid, the principal Koyonzo Boys Secondary School said evening remedials have been affected because teachers leave school at 5pm.
He said the insecurity situa tion has also affected parents who can no longer tend to their duties in fear of attacks from the gang, hence failing to sustain payment of school fees for their children.
At Itete secondary school, the school principal George Wekesah says the school timetable has been affected because the subordinate staff cannot report to school early.
“Cooks are supposed to report at 4am but nowadays they delay up to around 5.30am and this has affected the breakfast programme thus affecting the learning timetable,” says Mr Wekesah.
He says one student who is a day scholar has refused to go back home after their family was attacked in the night.
Efforts by security forces to beef up night patrols have only added to the predicaments facing the people of Matungu.
Locals claim the security personnel deployed to offer them safety have turned out to be another source of fear as they enter storm homes harassing innocent civilians as they challenge them to reveal the killers and their whereabouts.
"I am no longer at peace when night falls because l don’t know who will come to my door — whether they are gangsters or the police. Whoever among the two visits you brings trouble to the family. We don't know who will help us now," lamented Mr Zacharia Atsulu, a villager from Busombi.
Despite the heavy presence of security officers targeting members of the killer gang, villagers have also formed vigilance clusters to look out for any possible threats from the gangsters.
"We have come together and armed ourselves for any signal of attacks. Through this initiative, we have thwarted four cases of suspected attacks by the criminals. We have not, however, managed to get hold of one of them to teach the rest a lesson that will live on in their minds," said Mr Justus Otuma.