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Bungoma: Town hard hit by insecurity, curfews

14 May 2013, 14:34 Arap Yego

Bungoma town which is always crowded most evenings remained unusually deserted for the last three days as the residents complied with an order issued by the Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo restricting movement of people and activities after dusk.

David Kimaiyo on Thursday banned all night activities and asked boda boda operators in the region to limit movement to daytime. He said activities must be limited to between 6am and 6pm, warning persons extending movement beyond the set time that they risked arrest.

Boda boda operators who are popular in the town’s streets like most other towns in Western Kenya, and public service vehicles have kept off the central business district from as early as 6pm.

Matatu operators drop off passengers’ kilometers away from the town to beat the stipulated timelines sparking outrage among some commuters.

Those travelling from Eldoret, Kitale and Busia were forced to alight at Kanduyi town along the Kenya Uganda highway and look for alternative means to get to their final destinations.

Entertainment joints which come alive during the weekends have suffered the most as most patrons decided not to overstay in the premises past the set time lest they risk being jailed.

Major supermarket joints also closed shop earlier than usual as workers who were worried that they would be arrested by security agents sought the quickest way home.

“Bungoma is a ghost town; nobody is in town! The heavy police presence here must have scared everyone. What people want is a conclusive solution to these insecurity problems to allow people carry out their businesses without fear,” remarked a journalist who was in the company of other scribes carrying a spot check around the town on Friday night.

The Deputy President William Ruto on Friday led a high powered security team consisting of the Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo, his two assistants Samuel Arachi and Grace Kaindi, Criminal Investigations Department director Ndegwa Muhoro and Internal Security Permanent Secretary Mutea Iringo in a tour of the area, where he announced that the government will use the full force of law to end the senseless wave of killings in the region.

Ruto issued stern warning to individuals and organized groups causing terror that their days are numbered.

“We won’t negotiate with anyone targeting to endanger the lives of innocent citizens, let them know that we are prepared to meet such people with full force of the law,” stated Ruto, who also held a 4-hour meeting with local police bosses, members of the provincial administration and leaders including Bungoma governor Kenneth Lusaka and Senator Moses Wetangula.

Others present were area lawmakers James Lusweti (Kabuchai), Boniface Otsyula (Bumula), Eseli Simiyu (Tongaren), Dan Wanyama (Webuye West) and John Waluke (Sirisia).

Residents and business people who spoke to the press after the Deputy President William Ruto's team of high powered security chiefs left  expressed optimism that the situation in the once bustling the town will return to normalcy.

“We suffered losses after a curfew was declared in the town; we hope things will stabilize after the visit of the deputy president,” said Agnes Nafula, a grocery operator based at Bungoma Bus Park.

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