Boda bodas blamed for increased crime




Police have accused boda boda riders of the escalating killings and criminal activities in Kakamega County.

According to police, the boda boda operators are lynching suspected motorcycle criminals, as well as torching down their houses.

Police say Kakamega town, Lurambi, Khwisero, Butere and Shinyalu sub counties are the hot spots.

Reports indicate that in the months of December 2017, January and February this year, at least 20 people were killed with five of them being boda boda riders;

Out of the five riders, two fought against each other in Khwisero Sub County where one stabbed his colleague to death over a sh3, 600 debt. The irate mob of boda riders killed the other one in revenge mission.

Kakamega County police commander Johana Tunoi said the other three were killed in Butere Sub County by motorcycle thieves, who hired them at night, killed them and went away with their motorcycles.

Mr Tunoi in an Interview with the County Guardian Team, said property worth millions of shillings has also been reduced to ashes, adding that several houses having been torched in the month of January only.

“At Shimalabandu area in, a police vehicle from Kakamega Central police was pelted with stones by the riders and is not working. The vehicle has broken down, “he said.

The police commander said majority of the victims who were lynched by the boda boda operators could have been innocent.

“Most of these cases are revenge related. The riders do not verify information upon suspicion that someone is a criminal. They will go and kill you,” he said.

“We are receiving 3-4 murder cases every week and the numbers keeps on increasing. The trend is worrying and we are working around the clock to bring sanity to the riders,” said the police commander.

Mr Tunoi said some criminals are hidden among the boda boda operators are the ones wreaking havoc, adding that recently, they took sh200, 000 from a tomato trader in Mumias after returning home from the market.

He said they also attacked a petrol station at Sabatia with an AK47 riffle and took away the sales of the day.

Its 8.00am when we arrived at Busilwa village, Shinyalu Sub County.

Tension is still high boda boda riders rained terror in the village last Sunday at dawn.

The boda boda riders descended to the villagers with machetes, axes and jembes.

They also torched down several house leaving at least five families homeless. They also pelted the windows of their houses with stones.

According to Fredrick Shikokoti, a victim, he said the riders had come to the burial of their colleague who was knocked down by a vehicle in Kakamega town when the incident happened.

“A woman who had come for the burial was raped by unknown people who later fled away on a motorcycle. The riders then came to our village looking for three young men they suspected to have been behind the saga,” he said.

He said the riders surrounded the homestead of one of the suspects who he identified as Kevin Mugatia, saying they beat him senselessly using blunt objects while others slashed him.

“They also descended to with blows and kicks when I went to inquire why they were beating the young man. They threatened to kill me, my wife and children if I will continue distracting them from doing what brought them,” he said.

Mr Fredrick has a broken hand and the doors of his house broken also.

They then proceeded to another homestead where they torched down a house but the occupants who are three primary school pupils escaped unhurt but their elder brother became a sacrificial lamb.

This was the home of a 75-year-old widow, Teresa Alusa Muchiti, who said she was asleep around 4.30am last Sunday when she heard a loud bang on the door.

Ms Alusa said she came out of the house and found when they had barricaded her homestead and demanded the she produce his grandson. “Bring out Edward Muchiti alias ‘changaa’ we want to kill him”.

“My grandson was still asleep. They broke the door to his house, flushed his three young brothers and descended on him with machetes, kicks and blows. They then poured petrol to his house and set it ablaze,” she said as tears of sorrow rolled down the cheeks.

“Nothing was saved from the house, even the rabbits, goats, school uniforms and books of the pupils also burnt. They also threatened me to throw me in the burning house when I asked them to spare the life of my son,” she said.

The riders went away but came back yesterday at 11pm and then moved to the home of Mathias Mchiti and found his wife Anne Khalenya at home. They roughed her up and attempted to rape her.

“They teared my clothes into pieces using a piece of cloth and three of them tried to rape me. I screamed but villagers came to my rescue on time,” she said.

CGN has established that an 85-year-old woman, Felistus Khayega was also raped during the incident.

When the press visited her home, she was not able to speak to us since she was very sick and had not received medication by the time of going to the press.

Busilwa village elder Julius Lisamula also fears for his life after the riders told him that he should not be found outside his homestead past 6.00pm.

“The gang is raping women and murdering people at night.  There is a case where an old man was killed and his wife raped,” Lisamula said.