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Gun gangs clash over dumpsite

Gangs of gun-toting thugs on Tuesday shut down the sprawling Dandora dumpsite as they fought a pitched battle for control.

One youth was reportedly shot, then hacked with machetes and set on fire at the height of the violence, shortly before noon.

Armed police watched from a distance.

The gangs — from Dandora and neighbouring Korogocho — fought running battles with guns, machetes and bows and arrows.

The fighting was the culmination of growing tension between the two groups who each want to control the lucrative scavenging of plastic and metals.

“They have been attacking us at night and recently killed a woman, we want to share the ‘boma’ but they want it all to themselves,” said one youth whose face was painted black and identified himself as Samboja.

Armed youth during the clashes for control of Dandora dumpsite. PHOTO I DENISH OCHIENG
Youths armed with weapons shout at a rival group in the fight at Dandora dumpsite on October 15, 2013. PHOTO | Denish Ochieng, NairobiNews

The gunmen accused the police of cowardice and said they had refused to confront the thugs on the other side.

“These are the Westgate ones, they are just spectators. They know the guys with guns like ‘Kich’, ‘Mperu’ and ‘General’ but are afraid,” added another , youth carrying a machete.

The dumpsite in Dandora is separated from the Korogocho slum by only a filthy stream.

It is the Korogocho youths who want to take over the site, locally called “Boma”.The steel bridge over the stream was on Tuesday used to mark the lines between the warring factions.

Motorists were stopped by the thugs — some of them only teenagers — who demanded money before letting them pass.

At least three police officers attached to the Kariobangi post were at the scene with the Dandora faction, and watched as the two groups taunted each other for hours.

The Korogocho gang tried to cross the stream several times but were beaten back by Dandora youths hurling bottles.

Then shortly before noon, two armed men on the Korogocho side opened fire on Dandora youths.