- By GODFREY WAMALWA, API – KENYA
A wave of crime in Bungoma County has in the month of April 2013 witnessed an unprecedented upsurge of criminal attacks following a recent raids of five villages in the area where over 100 people are now hospitalized after succumbing to severe injuries.The merciless criminals armed with pangas, rungus, matchetes and other guns suspected to be hired from Provincial Administration are said to be just killing, maiming, raping, cutting, inflicting and unveiling all manner of injuries on the old and the young, men and women and forcefully taking people’s property.
The recent vicious cycle of criminal attacks witnessed in Bungoma
south district on the nights of 25th
and 27th Kimilili
district, Bumula district, Bungoma East district and Bungoma North district with in April, 2013 where over 100 residents were injured has proved that the security in the region has gone out of hands that now the criminal gangs have no fears of the Police or they are convinced that the security agents are impotent and cannot do anything and that is why the criminals could inflict terror within the same County on one consecutive nights.
Our expansive investigation in the county indicates that the challenge of insecurity in the region has gone on for too long, so far and without any tangible solution. The obvious narratives of criminals terrorizing peace-loving and law-abiding citizens has become the order of the day in the area for the last three years.
The area Governor,senator and, elected Members of the National Assembly
and Ward representatives have been uged to spearhead the mass shake ups of police chiefs
in the region starting from Bungoma county commissioner Jamleck Mbaruk.
Recently a middle-aged woman was gang-raped by twelve people at Kamukuywa market in Kimilili district . The mother of four is admitted at the Mt.Elgon Hospital in Kitale
where she is recovering from multiple injuries she sustained.
In an interview with this scribe she said she was attacked and cut on the head in the market at around 7pm. Also records at the hospital indicate s that it has been admitting victims of crime in the region on daily basis.
A businesswoman was attacked and robbed of her car as she returned to her home in Bungoma town. The gang stuffed her mouth with clothing and tied her hands and legs before making away with her new car. “No suspect has been arrested in connection with the unending attack and police are not bothered over the increased gang attack”said Beatrice Olwesi,a teacher.
. “People are being attacked daily as if there are no security systems in this county,” said a n activist in Webuye
However the Bungoma south OCPD
Amos Cheboi police has been mobbed by politicians and locals that accuses him over the security machinery of being complicit. The officer has been in charge of Bungoma south divisional headquarters for over a half a decade is now under pressure from both politicians and residents to have hi transferred.
According to injured residents led by James Munyange
,said the officer with his area district criminal investigation officer (DCIO) has got reliable reports on insecurity matters but they do not act on them and locals believes that money exchanges hands.”The police chiefs in the region have continued to connive with criminals”lamented Munyange.
He further noted with disappointment that a rapid overhaul of the overstayed polices officers in the various stations is still far from being secure.
Recently four regular police officers from Webuye police station and three administration police
were linked with robbery of over 200 bags of cement at Kaburengu centre when a long distance trailor overturned.
The allegations that police force has been colluding with the criminals in the area has called Inspector General of police David Kimaiyo to act on the said officers.
According to a civil society group in Bungoma Jukwaa la Katiba led by secretary General Mr.Philp Wekesa,the county chief officers ranging from county commissioner Mr.Jamleck Mbaruk and police chiefs from affected areas should be transferred immediately.In this case the affected sub counties includes Bungoma south,Bungoma North,Kimilili district,Bungoma East and Bungoma central where over four OCPDs are expected to be transferred.
Despite the fact that Bungoma south OCPD Amos Cheboi promising that they are dealing with criminal gangs which have been terrorising residents in the region. Mr. Amos Cheboi stated that crime cases in Bungoma County have reduced drastically in the recent past since the beginning of this year with only few cases being reported unlike the past.
After several reports of alleged deaths and injuries resulting from the police laxity from provincial administration which invokes more fears than hope to the locals, this writer decided to carry out investigations while under cover.
After four days of intensive search for a an administration police willing to aid out the gun, this journalist in the company of another man disguised as a relative paid a visit to the AP camp in Bungoma North district and sought to be ”assisted”
And strange as it might sound, the group of three experienced senior police officers in the area promised to provide their services after depositing sh 10000 to each officer but in accompany with them.
It however took this writer two days to reach and negotiate with one of the senior police officer on the terms and conditions of service i sought to receive.
This scribe was ushered in an Ap post and after about twenty minutes of negotiation the under cover team agreed to pay Ksh.7000 and the process of lending the gun began.
I was cautioned against mentioning or discussing the process with other person willing to be assisted in the same manner by the officers.
The police officers were also keen not to even disclose their faces or name and could not allow the ”clients”(this reporter) to know his designation in the police force.
I was only assured that all will be well but in case of any emergency they can visit the scene to save the government tool.
But things changed when I was asked to leave with them my contacts and national identification card.
According to Hon Wetangula people of Bungoma county leave in fear because they don’t know who is next, security in the region has deteriorated in the past three years.
“We want tangible solutions, tangible steps – transfer of incompetent security officers, deployment of more vehicles to facilitate patrols , establishment of more functional police stations, posts among other measures”said Bungoma Governor Ken Lusaka.
A civil society in the County “Jukwaa la katiba” Mr.Philp Wekesa wants the area leaders led by Bungoma Governor Ken Lusaka to quickly deal with security issues in the country. “Security is a major concern to us and to investors in the county. We want the police chief and other security agencies to take action ,” Wekesa said.
In a recent meeting chaired by Bungoma county chief executive officer Ken Lusaka,senator Moses Wetanula and area Mp Wafula Wamunyinyi resolved to have some police officers who have been manning the various stations for over three years transferred.
Wetangula said the officers have proved to be incompetent in fulfilling their duties of keeping the residents safe, he added that they no longer have confidence in the officers because they are not doing their work.