Re-emerging criminal gangs cause for alarm

Friday, November 15th, 2019 07:17 |
Crime Scene
Crime Scene. Photo/Courtesy

Police in Matungu, Kakamega county earlier this week arrested the ringleader of the dreaded militia, The 42 Brothers, and seized among other things, police uniform. 

The arrest marks a watershed moment for security agencies given that the suspect had eluded police dragnets and fled to Uganda. That is until he returned quietly and walked right into a police snare.

Notably, the suspect was linked to a gang that recruited teenagers into violence and killings that had hit the 20 mark early this year. The arrest is commendable and will go a long way in taming violent crime, especially in the region.

Yet, there is still a lot of ground to cover not just in Western region, but the entire country to tame outlawed groups that seem to be making a comeback.

Three months ago, there were cases of reported killings in parts of central region, which bore the signatures of the outlawed Mungiki sect.

To residents, this is bad news as they are forced to part with the so-called protection fees to these gangs. The fee, akin to tax of some sorts, is mandatory for businesspeople, matatu operators, grocery stores and anyone wishing to set up a fresh business or even construct a residential or commercial property.

Security agencies must not let the country slide back into the dark days when outlawed groups wreaked havoc and instilled fear among innocent Kenyans.

Security personnel, more so the intelligence agencies must flush out the gangs from wherever they are hiding and foil their evil plans.

This is critical if the country is to maintain law and order and attract investors and tourists, especially in the Coast region, where outlawed criminal groups have been terrorising residents.

Security agencies must be alive to the fact that criminal gangs may have mutated and are in the process of re-inventing themselves, thus the need to change tack.

It is sad that membership of such groups predominantly comprises the youth. The gangs are known to target jobless youth, who will readily welcome the notion of making “easy” money. Often, the rise in  crime  is directly linked to joblessness. This, partly, is an indictment on the part of the government, which has seen unemployment levels rise like never before. 

A nation’s future lies in its youth, and the government must not let despair creep into this group.

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