Six killed, several injured in Kisumu boda boda turf wars
James Magayi @magayijim
Six people have lost their lives and scores of others maimed in Kisumu since the government proclaimed a dusk-to-dawn curfew last week as rival boda boda gangs mete violence on each other.
The victims were either hacked to death using sharp objects or pummeled with blunt objects in the turf wars drawn out over three days.
A primary school teacher moonlighting in the motorcycle transport business was the first to die when he was accosted by riders allied to a Community-Based Organisation (CBO) last Thursday in Manyatta estate just minutes before 7pm. He was accused of not having proper gear for the job.
The CBO allied riders confiscated the teacher’s bike but he sought assistance from a group associated with a local politician.
The rescue team known as Shule arrived at the scene almost instantly in a pick-up truck sparking a melee that left the teacher with a dagger in the left eye and another stab in the chest.
He died while being taken to hospital. A rider allied to the CBO also died enroute JOOTRH the same night.
The Thursday skirmishes rolled over to Friday when riders allied to the CBO staged retaliatory attack on the ‘Shule’ gang associated with the local politician. Two people died from injuries sustained in the fight.
The Shule gang then teamed up with riders not allied to the CBO’s and attacked CBO offices all over the county beating anyone found in those premises.
Destruction was reported at CBO offices in Manyatta, Kibuye, Nyalenda, Bandani, Shauri Moyo and Brilliant.
Perplexing, the Friday raids on CBO offices were conducted in full presence of police officers who recovered weapons and assortment of police uniforms believed to be used by elements within the CBO’s to terrorise residents.
Another group of riders staged targeted attacks on the homes of CBO leaders while CBO riders also made targeted attacks on leading lights of the freelance riders.
The targeted attacks left another two dead and several with stab injuries.
The targeted raids in homes forced CBO leaders to flee from Kisumu, some leaving behind their families and household items.
Kisumu Central OCPD Anne Ng’etich said police are investigating the issue and will bring to book everyone who committed a crime.
“It escalated very fast and unfortunately lives have been lost and property destroyed. We are looking into it and we’ll bring to justice everyone involved,” she said
Ten people are in custody over the gruesome deaths while hordes of other riders are being held for other related offences.
Police recovered bloody machetes, bows arrows and knives from one of the CBO offices demolished in the Friday raids.
Residents called police to escalate the crackdown on the CBO’s accusing riders behind them of blatantly taking the law into their own hands.
The CBO’s ran a judicial system where they fined riders who violated rules.
Until last Friday the CBO riders wielded arrest and prosecutorial powers over all motorcycle riders in Kisumu.
They imposed fines and sentenced people to whipping. Others sustained life threatening injuries at the hands of those brutes.
“I was taken to that office but they were not fair in their judgment at all. They accused me of not being properly dressed while riding and I only wore sandals when rules stipulate that all riders wear shoes.
The fine was Sh3,000 but as a first time offender who was not even a member of the CBO they should have listened to my side,” said Alex Ogalo, a boda boda rider who was “tried” and fined by the gang.