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Police smash transit fuel cartel in Eldoret

Winstone Chiseremi @Wchiseremi

A joint security operation in North Rift region yesterday smashed a syndicate where disgruntled drivers of fuel tankers have been diverting petroleum products destined for neighbouring countries.

Police impounded more than 40,000 litres of petroleum products that were destined for Kampala in Uganda and arrested three suspects in connection with the illicit trade.

Speaking to the media at Jua Kali trading centre, the scene of the incident, Eldoret West Police boss Zachary Bittok said the suspects who are all Kenyans are helping them with investigations.

“We are holding the suspects in police custody to help us with investigations into the fuel racket with a view to nabbing more people involved in the vice before taking them to court,” he said.

Bittok, who led the operation said the suspects were arrested at the notorious trading centre along Eldoret-Webuye highway on Tuesday night after a tip-off from members of the local Nyumba Kumi initiative.

Also impounded were three fuel tankers, a generator, pipes and a gadget the suspects were using to jam the network so as to avoid being tracked by the security agencies. Bittok said the cartel had devised new ways of evading security officers involved in the crackdown against truck drivers involved in diversion of petroleum products into the local markets.

“These cartels have now devised new ways to evade police officers due to frequent day time patrol and information gathering. They are offloading fuel destined for neighbouring countries at night and in maize plantations,” he said.