Kenya: Police Manhunt After Crooks Vandalise SGR Tracks, Train Stalls

23 November 2021

Police in Makueni County have launched a manhunt for unknown people who vandalised a section of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line.

Vandalism of the railway line at Thange village, which was discovered around 3pm Monday, saw a Mombasa-bound Madaraka Express passenger train stranded in the region for hours as Kenya Railways technicians rushed to fixed the problem.

"A Kenya Railways official reported the problem at 3pm. It was attended to hours later," a security source privy to the incident told the Nation. He spoke on condition of anonymity since he is not allowed to comment on issues touching on the SGR.

A police report on the incident seen by the Nation corroborated his account.

The incident left the dozens of passengers on the evening train stranded from around 6pm.

The police incident report, which heavily cites George Orawo, the head of railway security operations in the region, indicates that the vandals removed 22 continuous gauge blocks of unknown value from the rail.

"The railway gauge blocks were removed in such a way to cause train derailment/capsizement...Efforts to trace and apprehend the suspects are in progress. The area chief and Nyumba Kumi are collaborating in the manhunt," the report says.

The trip resumed two hours later after Kenya Railways technicians fixed the problem.

"We have completed the safety check and normal services have resumed. The trains will now arrive in Nairobi at 9:00 pm and in Mombasa at 9:30pm," the railway agency said in a statement on its official Twitter handle.

It apologised to passengers for the inconvenience.

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