More than 200 business outlets in Dol Dol Town, Laikipia North remained closed as traders protested rising insecurity which has left one dead and two others nursing gunshot wounds.
The traders sent their representatives to the Laikipia County Commissioner’s office in Nanyuki, some 60 kilometres away where they accused police officers of turning a blind eye as the armed criminals roamed at night, terrorizing the residents.
The latest attack was on Friday when three shops were looted at gunpoint with one trader, Mr Atanasio Karwithia, 63, sustaining gunshot injuries. He is undergoing treatment at Nanyuki Teaching and Referral Hospital after being shot on the right hand.
The midnight attack at Dol Dol Town came a week after another robbery at Zimbabwe Shopping Centre in the neighbouring Segera Ward where a trader, Lawrence Macharia, 66, was shot dead. His colleague Mr Daniel Mberia is nursing a gunshot wound on his right leg.
Both raids bear similarities in that the criminals used unmarked motorcycles to escape from the scene of crime.
Laikipia County Commissioner Joseph Kanyiri, while addressing the traders’ representatives who camped outside his office for four hours, ordered police officers to impound any motorcycle without a registration number and arrest the rider.
“We have held talks with traders from Dol Dol, Kiwanja Ndege and Il Polei towns who are complaining of rising insecurity. One of the directives I have issued to law enforcers across the county is that they should move fast and impound any boda boda operator whose motorcycle does not bear registration numbers,” said Mr Kanyiri.
The administrators said the traders have agreed to cooperate with officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and volunteer names of suspected criminals adding that police would now be patrolling the areas during the day and throughout the night.
“These criminals come from within and I believe some of them are known. Even as we heighten police patrols, we are requesting information that would help us apprehend the criminals,” said Mr Kanyiri.
He said some of the criminals could be locals but trying to create an impression that migrating armed herders inside Mukogodo forest are behind the frequent night raids aimed at looting the shops.
Mukogodo East MCA-elect Paul Leshuel who accompanied the 32 traders to the county headquarters said any criminal, whether a local or a migrating herder should be dealt with ruthlessly.
“No one should complain once criminals are arrested and prosecuted. It is not about tribes or a certain community being targeted but it is about getting rid of criminal elements to restore peace to enable growth of our economy,” said the ward representative.