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Residents criticise KPLC over laxity

08 May 2013, 16:35 Kelvin Wanjohi

The Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPCL) personnel in Nyahururu region have been criticized for failing to reinstall a transformer that was recovered intact from robbers who had pulled it down last month through the efforts of community policing in Mung’etho Gwa Keni village in Silon Sub-location, Laikipia County.

The transformer was located just near Mung’etho secondary and primary schools. The incident occurred on the night of March 5 leaving the area in total darkness as residents were glued on their TV sets watching the previous day’s General Election news. The area was still in darkness at the time of going to press, a month after the incident.

A delegation from the village earlier this week complained about what they termed as 'laxity by the KPCL personnel'.

“It appears as if some of them were disappointed that the robbery and vandalization were unsuccessful. Were they accomplices? Otherwise why have they not returned the transformer which they collected intact?” posed a village elder who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation.

Efforts to obtain a comment from the KPCL offices in Nyahururu bore no fruits.

The recovery had been quick action by members of the public that mobilized a squad of officers from the Anti-Stock Theft Unit (ASTU) who have a camp at Kianugu a few kilometres from the scene, who arrived to find the robbers preparing to vandalize it.

Two of the suspects escaped on a motorbike after sensing trouble, but two others arrived in a car unaware that they were already surrounded by the armed officers and a group of civilians.

Inside the vehicle were tools and gears used to climb poles, and other gadgets to cut off electricity from the main line, as well as implements to milk the valuable transformer oil that reportedly fetches a lot of money in the black market.

Neighbours noticed the robbery after lights went off, followed by a big thud as the transformer dropped on the ground. They informed each other through mobile phones after which one of them drove in the night to get the ASTU officers.

The driver of the car used by the robber and his passenger were arrested and, accompanied by the officers in the car said to have been hired from Nairobi, led the police in a chase of their mates who were escaping on the motorbike. They caught up with them near Mairo Inya along the Nyeri road shooting them dead.

The chase continued to Nyeri County where two others were shot dead as they tried to escape. One of the arrested suspects was a university student. Two were neighbours near Kinamba Laikipia.

A good number of transformers have in the past been pulled down and vandalized in close intervals by gangs, causing huge loses to the power generating company.

The crime seems to have stopped after the killings. It was not quite clear what had become of the two remain suspects. 

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