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Huruma: No house break-ins but dangerous teens roam the streets

Kiamaiko area in Nairobi’s Huruma estate is considered to be one of the safest as it has virtually zero house break-ins.

But what has left residents terrified, is the high number of teenagers who are said to come from neighbouring wards to do the unthinkable in their streets.

Mugging, stabbing, strangling and snatching of handbags, watches and mobile phones, are the order of the day to the residents of Kiamaiko ward Huruma Estate Nairobi.

The young boys are said to be aged between 8 and 18, in primary schools.

It is a vice that has brought about accusations and counter-accusations between police officers and parents. Police officers blame poor parental up-bringing for the sorry state, while the parents, on the other hand, blame the officers for working in cahoots with the young gangsters.

Stephen Mwangi, a shopkeeper in the area, says the day-time robbery happens all the time.

“Police officers too who happen to know the boys very well and what they do in the area, just watch as the incidences unfold without taking any action,” says Mr Mwangi.

“If they happen to apprehend any of the boys with enough incriminating evidence for sentencing, in a couple of hours after the arrest, the boy is usually seen around going about his activities.”

STABBED

He says the very dangerous young boys carry around kitchen knives and use them to scare and terrify passers-by.

He adds that whoever tries to resist their attempt, is stabbed on the spot, either on the throat or in the stomach.

“Two days ago, a woman was stabbed right in front of my shop very early in the morning at around 6am. She refused to give them her phone and it seems she was a visitor in the area,” he offers.

“Any local knows how dangerous it is to talk on the phone right here. Fortunately, for other passers-by, the police officers came right away and one of the boys was apprehended. With all the incriminating proof, to my surprise, the same boy apprehended that morning was here looking around to get someone else to mug,” says a fearful Mwangi.

The young gangsters are said to have been on the rise during this holiday season as they want to make money for partying and sex, to buy expensive clothing and to lead a celebrity kind of lifestyle.

They are said to operate in two groups; one group from dawn to dusk while the other, which is considered the most dangerous one, operates at night.

Mr Mwangi adds that if anyone had a hand in the arrest of any of the criminals, the gang usually avenges in the cruelest manner. This, he says, has instilled fear in most residents who prefer to suffer in silence.

Paul Mbugua, an assistant chairman in the ward says, the teenage boys’ mantra is “kufa ni lazima, kuishi ni bahati.”

He adds that these youngsters are encouraged by their parents whom he says advise them to go for the most expensive gadgets and even hijack cars to make extra cash to sustain their livelihoods.

RISING INSECURITY

He adds, as an assistant chair person, he has been warned by senior police officers including the OCS and the OCPD to never speak to the media or any civil society group regarding the matter. Failure to comply, and he will be ‘dealt with’.

“If I’m found speaking to you, I will be in very big trouble. I have tried to report to the OCS but nothing has ever been done to end the vice which seems to escalate daily. Most of the children who carry out these activities are primary school children who are encouraged by their parents,” he says.

“Parents don’t care about their children’s safety. They don’t respect anyone. Recently, they stabbed a police officer who tried to help a woman they had attacked in broad day light. I’m caught between a rock and a hard place. I don’t know what to do.”

A police officer, who is not allowed to speak to the media, says the attacks are an open secret.

“Insecurity is on the rise in this area,” he says. “The young gangs even know the officers and some of them have befriended them and that is why they never get arraigned once apprehended.

He blames the constitution too for allowing bail to anyone if enough evidence is not provided within 24 hours.

“Most of the boys we have arrested here never even get to the court. They are usually released after a couple of hours and the locals here think that we have been bribed. Even before being presented to the court their parents speak to the senior officers and they get released. Some are released on bail even if there is enough evidence proving they are guilty. We too get discouraged and that is why we just ignore them sometimes,” says the officer.

Nairobi News visited Pangani OCPD Alice Kimeli to check on the number of cases reported from the area. While she declined to show us any reports, she maintained that security has improved in Hururma area specifically in Kiamaiko Ward.

“There no cause for alarm,” is all she said.