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Eastleigh’s loss, Ngara’s gain

Traders in Ngara market are enjoying a business boom following the shift in shoppers’ allegiance from Eastleigh.

Clothes dealer Kevin Muriuki said the number of shoppers visiting Ngara, where he is based, had increased significantly over the past weeks as most of those who used to shop in Eastleigh now preferred the market following cases of insecurity and police crackdowns in the formerly popular shopping centre.

“It seems shoppers do not want to go to Eastleigh because of the cases of insecurity and police crackdowns that has been going on for close to a month now,” Mr Muriuki said.

And a shopper, Mr Joseph Kaunda, confirmed that the recent attacks in Eastleigh had scared him and many other business people away, prompting him to shift to Ngara.

“The cases of insecurity in Eastleigh are discouraging. Allegations of police officers arresting anyone found on the streets have also not helped the situation. Though some of the goods here are too expensive compared to Eastleigh,” he added.

Eastleigh District Business Association chairman Hassan Ghuleid said the police crackdown had adversely affected business in Eastleigh as traders were forced to close early with others opting to close indefinitely for lack of customers.

Eastleigh has come under sharp security scrutiny following last month’s twin attack that left six people dead and more than 30 wounded.

Speaking after the incident, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku announced the launch of Operation Usalama Watch aimed at curbing insecurity in the predominantly Somali-inhabited estate. He  added that police crackdown would be carried out to arrest criminals.

The operation has since led to the deportation of close to 82 suspected illegal immigrants to Somali with several others being held at the Safaricom Stadium in Kasarani for vetting.