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Govt to install CCTV cameras to catch Gikomba ‘arsonists’

The government on Thursday said that the frequent fire incidents in Gikomba market are deliberate acts of arson.

Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho, speaking after assessing the damage caused by a fire incident that occurred at dawn, warned those behind such attacks that they will face the law.

“We just want to warn people that we believe are behind this is in futility. Gikomba is public land and it shall be used for public purposes even if we relocate traders who are here to the new markets that we are building,” he affirmed.

The PS, who was accompanied by Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) Director General Mohammed Badi and Kamukunji Member of Parliament Yusuf Hassan Abdi, said they will work with the National Police, National Intelligence Service, residents, leaders and business people of Gikomba to arrest and prosecute the culprits behind the frequent arson attacks in the market.

He also said that the market infrastructure will be modernised with the first phase set to be concluded within three months.

“To solve the frequent arson attacks and congestion in Gikomba Market, the Government will in approximately three months’ time install high mast CCTV security cameras, a perimeter wall, a borehole, a 100,000-litre water tank and a solid waste management and drainage system,” he added.

“We will continue to build new markets to ensure that people who are affected are absorbed.”

He warned those aiming to displace the original stall owners. “There is no way this place will be converted into private spaces,” he said.

The area most affected by Thursday’s fire was the cereals and mitumba sections of the market opposite Solidarity Building that houses the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) offices.

The fire comes barely just months after traders lost property of unknown value after night flames gutted several stalls in February.