Several injured after bus ambushed on Nairobi-Isiolo highway

Isiolo bus attack

The bus that was damaged by stone-throwing attackers at passengers travelled on the Nairobi-Isiolo highway on March 6, 2021.

Photo credit: Courtesy

What you need to know:

  • The bus was heading from Nairobi to Isiolo when attacker hurled stones at it near Maili Saba in Isiolo.

Several people are nursing injuries following an attack on a bus on the Nairobi-Isiolo highway on Saturday evening.

The bus was heading from Nairobi to Isiolo when attackers hurled stones at it near Maili Saba in Isiolo.

The incident followed three days of clashes between two communities after the killing of a boda boda rider on Thursday evening.

Police reports indicate that the rider, accused of stealing motorcycle spare parts, was accosted by a group of men in Isiolo town, taken to an area along the Isiolo-Meru border, roughed up and set on fire.

Following the incident, a group of bodaboda riders from one community started unleashing terror on the other, claiming it was behind the killing.

Businesses attacked

On Thursday, a crowd broke into shops in Isiolo town and stole various items as businesspeople fled.

A number of workers remained trapped in their offices, waiting till nightfall in order to go home unnoticed.

Police officers had to fire in the air to disperse the rowdy group.

At night, a motorcycle belonging to a chief in the area was set ablaze by a group of young men at Kiwanjani.

And on Friday morning, parents picked up their children from Wabera, St Kizito, Kiwanjani and Bulawaso primary schools, fearing more attacks would take place.

Along the road leading to the county offices, no single boda boda operator was found.

Business people who spoke to the Nation said they were afraid of losing their property and were longing for peace.

“I almost got hit by a stone while hurriedly leaving work during the fracas yesterday. I cannot open my shop because my property could be stolen,” one of the traders said.

Heavy police presence

Isiolo County Commissioner Herman Shambi on Friday urged calm, saying police officers were deployed to ensure improve security.

Mr Shambi also asked parents who took their children out of school due to the tension to take them back.

While there was a heavy police presence in the town, however, many businesses remained shut and streets deserted.

He condemned the attack on the boda boda rider, saying the men should have surrendered the suspect to police for legal action, instead of taking matters into their own hands.

Mr Shambi warned residents against spreading fear and panic on social media platforms, saying detectives are investigating use of electronic devices so that those spreading propaganda are arrested.

He told off residents politicising the matter, saying the suspects arrested were from different communities.

“I assure that all is well. We are committed to ensuring business goes on uninterrupted,” he assured.

The administrator also asked young people to shun leaders propagating divisive politics and learn to work together.

Governor’s plea

Mr Shambi also said three suspects, including an owner of the garage where the stolen goods were found and the owner of the tuktuk that the rider was transported in, were arrested.

“The three are assisting our officers in investigations so that all those involved are brought to book,” he said.

Following the arrests, Governor Mohammed Kuti urged the two communities to maintain peace and allow police to do their work for justice to prevail.

He asked residents to report cases to police for proper action to be taken and to stop linking crimes to communities.

Governor Kuti further asked boda boda leaders in all the communities in Isiolo to meet and discuss lasting solutions to prevent similar incidents.

“I don’t want to hear about communities fighting. We are all Kenyans so we must find ways of living together. Boda boda riders should join saccos so that if anything happens, it's easy to know the culprits,” he said.

He further asked religious leaders to use their positions and platforms to preach peace.