By Obegi Malack
Criminals have now taken advantage of Covid-19 curfew to vandalise part of the Nairobi –Naivasha (SGR) line in Kajiado County.
The robbers are giving Kenya Railways (KR) officials sleepless nights by taking advantage of the surrounding forests in Kajiado North Sub County to hide the railway metallic pipes.
The looted metals items are sold as scrap metal at Gataka centre and surrounding towns like Matasia, Rongai and Kiserian.
The thieves have removed metallic pipes installed at the SGR Bridge that crosses Magadi Road on the way to Kiserian past the Maxwell University at DK24 to DK26.
Two bodaboda operators have so far been arrested transporting the stolen items to Matasia.
Police Inspector Mercy Minoh who is in charge of the the SGR unit says the criminals vandalize the line at night and hide the metals in the Olkeri, Oloolua forests.
She said police are on high alert and will make arrests.
Olkeri Ward resident Philip Kimani however accused the local security team of sleeping on the job and asked them to intenify patrols.
“No one should be allowed to risk lives of commuters, we are hoping to greatly benefit in the future,” he said.
Kenya Railways (KR) managing director Philip Mainga had earlier said the vandalism exposed operations threatening lives of commuters.
“Any individual found vandalizing railway property is guilty of a felony and liable to prosecution,” Mainga warned.
The SGR passengers operations resumed recently after April’s Covid-19 restrictions by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The Madaraka Express Commuter Service serving Ngong, Ongata Rongai stations from Nairobi terminus resumed on Oct. 21 KR notice indicated.
The Sh150 billion project cuts across Nairobi, Kajiado, Nakuru and Narok counties with four passenger stations- Ongata Rongai, Ngong, Mai Mahiu and Suswawith an inter-change station at Nachu.
Kajiiado County residents say the stations are not accessible and ticket prices are too high.
It costs Sh100 from Ngong/Rongai to Syokimau and Sh50 to Nairobi CBD but passengers are forced to spend Sh300 more to access Nairobi Railways station in town.
Those who live far from the stations along the route are forced to use boda boda motorcycles which cost Sh200 to and fro due to the pathetic roads.
During commissioning of the project president Uhuru Kenyatta promised to fix the access roads.
The president directed Cabinet Secretary of Transport and Infrastructure James Macharia and Kajiado North Constituency MP Joseph Manje to fix Kandisi and Ngong roads for accessibility but the roads are yet to be fixed.
Meanwhile Kenya Railways (KR) has acquired five trains (diesel multiple units) to operate in Nairobi.
The KR will work with Nairobi Metropolitan Services to ease traffic jam in the cosmopolitan area.