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Field where thugs and lynch mobs deal with victims

An open field, slightly smaller than a football pitch, in Mathare has acquired a new name lately. It is called Choma Zone for the many muggings, lynchings, and stabbings that the ground witnesses.

The field is in Mathare,  — at the boundary between Ruaraka and Starehe constituencies.

Residents cannot avoid taking the short-cut, only to be stabbed or if lucky, escape after a mugging.

In spite of being accustomed to violent crimes,  residents say the bizarre acts that unfold in the area are beyond them.

The latest victim of the lynch mob was a carpenter’s son, suspected of being a thief, going by the name Odhis. His stomach was ripped open in January before his body was set alight.

Suspected thugs are routinely frog-marched to the field and lynched in broad daylight.

While Chief Moses Gatimu puts the number of lynchings since December at two, residents say four suspects have been killed and burned.

“I am aware of two incidents, in one of which a handgun was confiscated. But through the CDF the Government is putting up an Administration Police post in the area to address the issue,” said Mr Gatimu, who partially blames residents’ cover-up efforts for the rise in crime in the slum.

“Family members try to protect criminal elements and residents rarely give authorities helpful information,” added the chief.

A victim of an early evening mugging last week said the close-knit family units of area landlords are to blame for rising crime rates because they protect criminal sons.

The mother of one said: “I was robbed last Friday by a boy I know perfectly but I cannot go to the police and continue living here…I would be dead.”

The residents say the area has lately seen an upsurge of crime. The field was created in 2012 when an arson attack flattened a bar and left three people dead.