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Tension as police, youths clash in Majengo town

27 October 2014, 20:50 Dareel Eric

Vihiga - Tension has gripped Majengo town in Vihiga County after a standoff between the police and the youths operating in town escalated, with a police officer having been beaten and injured last week.

Among other things, the youths in the town are accusing the police of unfair extortion, brutality and unnecessary arrests that have created animosity between the two warring groups to rise.

On Saturday, it forced Governor Moses Akaranga to intervene and talk to the youths in the town, in company of police commandant in the region Sarah Duncan, after seven people were arrested and youths started rioting.

“Over the past few months, the police have become a problem in this town. They just strike whenever they feel like they should be taking some people to the cells, even if one has done nothing wrong,” said Adran Kimiya, chairperson of the market traders.

Also read: MP tells Sakaja to put TNA house in order

Mr Kimiya says that most businesspersons in town are operating in fear because the police are threatening them often, which has had adverse effects on their businesses.

He said that despite the fact that they have wanted the town to operate on a 24 hour economy, it is difficult because after 7pm, police start strolling in town arresting unsuspecting businesspersons and other people.

The youths said that police often come in civilian clothes and unmarked police vehicles which are parked at strategic places in the market.   

Linet Dalizu, a businesswoman in the town said that police in the area do not respond to cases of insecurity in the villages, despite their forces having been boosted and given 15 vehicles, but they are always very quick to arrest youths in the town.

“We only see the police in the town harassing people, but when you are attacked back in the village, they will arrive the following day,” said Ms Dalizu.

She said that those who are arrested by the police give out up to Sh 20 thousand to be released in the Kangaroo court at Vihiga Police Station, as they fear being taken to the Law Courts.

“When you tell a person operating boda boda to give you Sh 10 thousand to be released, isn’t it encouraging the youth to go and steal? Where can he get that money, and yet the motorcycle is not even his?” posed Dalizu.

But Vihiga OCS Judith Nyongesa said that the youths are a threat to the security in the town and the police will not relent in arresting them whenever it deems possible.

“Two police officers have been beaten by the youths in this town this year. No one helped them. And the youths who pretend to be conductors, harassing people at the bus stage, we will not fail to arrest them whenever we find an opportunity,” said Ms Nyongesa.

Akaranga asked the police to identify themselves clearly before arresting individuals instead of coming in civilian clothes, and when the youths attack them, they then identify themselves as police and start arresting people.  

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