Marauding gangs terrorise Kisumu, environs

Michael Omondi, 23, a resident of Mowlem area in Kisumu recuperates at his house after he was attacked by unknown individuals while heading home from work in this photo taken on August 23, 2022.

Photo credit: Tonny Omondi | Nation Media Group.

Residents of Kisumu have called on the government to beef up security in the lakeside city following constant attacks by gangs.

The escalating insecurity has seen dozens of people attacked and injured in the last two weeks, with the authorities saying the thugs are looking for something new to do after the elections.

In a recent case, a middle-aged man was attacked and left with serious injuries in an encounter with the gang at Mowlem, Kisumu East sub-county.

The thugs, who were on a motorcycle, attacked Mr James Wallace Otieno on Friday, August 12.

Mr Otieno said they waylaid him a few metres from his house and attacked him with a metal rod and a knife before fleeing.

“The attackers grabbed my phone and went ahead to attack me with a knife and a metal rod as I struggled to stop them,” he said.

“They hit me with the rod and scratched my face with the knife and dragged me on the ground.”

Mr Otieno, who was left unconscious, was rushed to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) by Good Samaritans. He spent four days in the Intensive Care Unit.

Although his case was reported at the Nyamasaria Police Station, he said, not a single suspect has been arrested.

Mr Otieno is among dozens of Kisumu residents who have suffered injuries in attacks by gangsters who roam estates at night.

Residents say the thugs travel on motorcycles without number plates in groups of three, armed with machetes, axes, knives, metal rods and pieces of wood and targeting those walking alone.

Michael Omondi, 22, another victim, is nursing a deep cut in his head after an encounter with thugs on Monday night.

Motorcycle riders stopped behind him and one of them hit him in the head with a blunt object, pushing him to the ground.

He started screaming, prompting them to flee without stealing anything from him.

“I was rushed to JOOTRH by Good Samaritans who came to my rescue,” said Mr Omondi, who still had a large bandage on his head.

Areas affected the most

The most affected areas are Mowlem, Nyamasaria, Dago, Kachok, Kasagam, Rabuor and Akado, all in Kisumu East, said Kisumu-based human rights activist Audi Ogada.

More than 10 cases of robbery with violence had been reported in the area in the past two weeks, with the latest reported yesterday, he said.

“Our officers need to act quickly. We don’t know who the gang will target next and can no longer carry on with our duties in peace,” he said.

In June, similar cases were reported in the constituency, with two people killed and more than 10 injured.

But Kisumu East sub-county Police Commander James Musyimi said only the two most recent attacks were reported to his office.                       

“We received a case of a ward administrator who was attacked in Nyamasaria and took over the case, although not a single suspect has been arrested,” he said.

He said police had intensified night patrols following an outcry from locals on social media platforms.

“We are also appealing to members of the public to work with us and share any information that could lead to the arrest of the suspects,” he said.

Meanwhile, Siaya Sub-County Police commander Benedict Mwangangi has blamed the public for not sharing information about crimes.

Mr Mwangangi lamented that many people complain that the police are doing little to arrest the suspects but are not willing to provide information on crimes committed.

“Security is not only the responsibility of the security officers; it is a collective responsibility that brings all of us together,” he told the Nation.

His appeal comes a week after the mysterious death of a 52-year-old man, whose lifeless body was dumped in Pap-Kakan village in Siaya sub-county.

Another case still under investigation is that of Fredrick Oduor, 19, whose body was discovered next to his family’s shop in Uranga, Siaya sub-county, three days after he was abducted from there.