By County Press Reporter
Residents of Namanga, the dusty border post on the Kenya – Tanzania border in Kajiado Central, had enjoyed a crime free environment, reveling at the many bars they patronize on the Tanzanian side of the no man’s land area for many years.
That was until August last year, when a gang broke into houses in residential areas at night, defiled a 12-year-old girl, raped a 25 year-old woman and spent six hours terrorizing their victims before fleeing with stolen goods.
Although the area OCPD at the time James Kimani promised tough action against the criminals, saying they would be pursued, arrested and prosecuted, the victims are still waiting for action one year later.
But most worrying, is the fact that gun-wielding gangs are back in Namanga, hiding in dark corners and snatching money and other valuables from residents going to work or returning home at wee hours in the morning.
“Asked if he was aware of the fears raised by residents, area Chief John Supet said he had neither received any report nor was he aware that a woman and a child were sexually assaulted by gangs last year.
Efforts to get a comment from Officer Commanding Namanga Police Station was unsuccessful as he was said to have travelled to Kajiado.
When gangsters attacked the town last year, then Kajiado County Commissioner David Kipkemei blamed the police for laxity leading to the rape of the woman and the defiling of the young girl.
Petty crime is a big problem in Namanga especially at the no man’s land area where youth from Tanzania and Kenya meet to smoke bang openly and chew Miraa and Muguka in the open
Chinese made gambling machines that are banned in Kenya are also openly displayed like juke boxes at the small bars for revelers, some of them old Masaai men.
Chewing of miraa in public places is prohibited in Tanzania and that is why many drivers and conductors operating on the Namanga – Arusha road pack their vehicles at the no man’s area to chew the twigs as they wait for passengers.
At the popular Sacha Club, where many Kenyans, especially those who go to drink and watch football on big TV screens, a warning in large capital letters reading “NDUGU MTEJA NI MARUFULU KULA MIRAA KATIKA ENEO HILI, greets them as they enjoy their Serengeti or Tusker at the pocket friendly cost of Sh 100 per bottle.
Although security chiefs in Namanga are very guarded about the serious levels of crime in the area, businessmen point a finger at an informal settlement in Tanzania called Buruguni.
“They snatch phones and run to the no man’s land where Kenyan police officers cannot arrest them and later sell them at Buruguni which is where they live in Tanzania,” said Mohammed Amin Hersi, a Somali businessman.