Two people were injured in clashes between matatu operators and members of the outlawed Mungiki sect in Nakuru on Wednesday.
Public transport on the busy Nakuru-Nairobi highway was paralysed as the two groups fought at Free Area stage, eight kilometres from Nakuru town.
The clashes started after a matatu operator, who was in a group protesting against extortion by the banned sect, was assaulted.
Kiosks were set ablaze and houses destroyed as matatu operators sought revenge.
In 2003, three people were killed in similar clashes.
“We have decided to fight back,” said a Mr Mwangi, who gave only one name for fear of reprisals.
The operators, numbering about 500, overwhelmed six police officers who had gone to rescue a cornered Mungiki sect member.
Matatu operators on the Free Area and town centre route pay Sh100 a day to Mungiki members stationed at Free Area stage.
The gang members used to collect the money at the main stage in town but were kicked out by the police and retreated to Free Area.
Matatu operators said the sect members had made the transport business unviable and called on the government to get rid of them.
A driver said the Mungiki used to extort Sh40 per trip but had increased the charges after the government got tough with them.
It was not clear if police had made any arrests by the time of going to press.
Free Area is considered one of the zones controlled by the Mungiki group.