Munira Mandano and Harisson Kivisu @PeopleDailyKe
Police in Kwale county recovered several weapons on Tuesday night at a suspected criminals’ den in Magutu area in Bongwe. The operation saw two AK-47, 73 rounds of ammunition, two magazines and knives recovered.
Two motorbikes, one mobile phone and personal effects including clothing and shoes were also recovered following a tip-off from members of the public. Msambweni OCPD Joseph Chebusit said his officers laid an ambush but the criminals managed to escape arrest.
“When our officers reached the area the criminals escaped to different directions but the officers fired at them. We suspect some of the suspects escaped with gun wounds,” he said.
Chebusit said one of the recovered guns was stolen from officers, who were recently killed at an ACK church in Ukunda. He added that they suspect the knives were used to scare M-Pesa attendants during robberies.
He said they have launched an operation in pursuit of the criminals, believed to be six, using the recovered mobile phone to trace the suspects. Meanwhile, a wave of daring daytime robberies from knife-wielding Wakali Kwanza gang has escalated with two people reported dead in Likoni.
The gang is targeting traders including mobile money transfer shops, motorists and residents. The latest victims of the attacks are miraa traders, Boniface Mirigi and Gideon Ntonyingi, who were killed at Soko Mjinga area.
Another trader Japhet Kubia is nursing severe face injuries after an attack. Speaking at Coast Provincial General Hospital mortuary, traders attributed the crime menace on police laxity.
Sources in the area say community policing and Nyumba Kumi initiatives have failed because no one is willing to volunteer information for fear of victimisation. Mombasa Meru Association secretary Meshack Lee said the crime wave has shifted its target to miraa traders, who operate most of the shops along Bamburi stretch.
“We demand security for our customers and our businesses or we will close our businesses and go away,” he said. However, Mombasa county commissioner Evans Achoki on Monday assured residents and visitors of security in Mombasa during the festive season.