Kenya: Two Boys in Custody After Gang of Youths Terrorises Mombasa

Two 17-year-old boys are in police custody over suspected involvement in the Monday evening attack on Nyali residents that left at least seven people nursing stab wounds.

Crude weapons -- including knives, machetes and a homemade petrol bomb -- were recovered from the juvenile gang of about 30, Mombasa County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo said.

The wave of attacks and street fights by the gang terrorised Nyali residents who, caught unawares, scampered for safety and closed their businesses some minutes before 7pm.

The marauding gang, suspected to be Wakali Kwanza members, ambushed residents of Bashir in Nyali, indiscriminately injuring and robbing them.

Boda-boda operators at Kadzandani reported to the police that a group of armed teenagers had been spotted in Bashir Primary School. Mr Kitiyo told Nation that two of the gang members are being held at Kadzandani Police Station and will be charged with robbery with violence.

The two, whose names the Nation has withheld because they are minors, were arrested while armed with pangas.

Cause havoc

According to police sources, they are accused of assaulting and robbing Mr Kennedy Khisa, a resident of Nguu Tatu, of an unknown amount of money.

The duo also assaulted Mr Peter Kigany, who sustained a cut on the forehead. The homemade petrol bomb was recovered near Vescon Estate, Phase Four.

Mr Kitiyo warned that parents of the minors will also be taken in for questioning.

"Whenever there is an attack, we will go for their parents. We will also take action against village elders and Nyumba Kumi officials for not giving intelligence to the police," Mr Kitiyo said on Tuesday after meeting security committee members in Bamburi.

Police sources said the gang wants to take advantage of the Eid festivities, which mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadhan, to cause havoc.

Mr Kitiyo further warned chiefs in the areas where criminal gangs emerge that they, too, will be held accountable.

He assured the residents of safety and security during the Eid celebrations.

Manhunt launched

Residents are, however, worried that the attack could mark a resurgence of criminal gangs that, for years, have been stoking insecurity in the county.

They also want the local leadership to install street lights in Bashir and Zaituni junction.

Mr Leonard Kai, a bodaboda rider who sustained injuries on the hands in the attacks, said he thought the gang members, numbering about 30, were Muslim faithful coming from evening prayer after breaking their fast.

He claimed that, before waging the attack, the assailants chanted "takbir", a coded rallying call. He was injured on the left hand as he tried to guard himself against his assailant.

Nyali divisional police commander Daniel Mumasaba said a manhunt has been launched for the other gang members.

He assured residents of their safety even as he implored on them to work hand-in-hand with the security teams by reporting the bad elements in the community.

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