Police in Maua town, Meru County, are holding four young men suspected to be behind a wave of violent robberies in which motorcycles were stolen this month.
The men, in their mid-20s, were picked up after investigations connected them to the crimes in four sub-counties that left several riders injured and dozens of motorcycles stolen.
Igembe South Deputy County Commissioner Noah Kibet said the men were seized in Mutuati in Igembe North and Muringene in Igembe Central.
The four were identified as Ezekiel Njiru Kimathi from Mutuati; Peter Ng’ang’a Mburu and Kevin Kiplimo Kibet, both from Nyahururu; and James Kipkopus Tugen, a resident of Lonyiek.
They were presented in the Maua Magistrate’s Court on Friday and Igembe South DCIO Tiberius Ekisa was allowed to hold them for further interrogations.
Mr Kibet said investigations would extend to the areas the suspects hail from as it emerged that one of them was linked to a boda boda theft ring in Kajiado County.
Police are looking for the stolen motorcycles and firearms the raiders allegedly used to scare away operators and sympathetic residents.
Meru County boda boda operators’ chairman Harun Karithi said the theft escalated around 9pm on Sunday night last week, when 15 motorcycles were stolen and four people slashed.
He said the attacks were perpetrated by men on motorcycles who would ride past unsuspecting operators, block their way and rob them while brandishing a gun or a machete.
Athiru Rujine boda boda operators’ chairman George ‘Ngete’ Mutwiri said thieves who had posed as passengers robbed a member of his group at gunpoint.
“He was ferrying passengers to Kiengo when they ordered him to stop. He picked up a rock to confront them but they brandished a gun and he surrendered his motorcycle,” he recounted.
Mr Karithi said the most violent attacks happened at Njarine, Maua Primary, Antubochiu and Maili Tatu where riders were slashed.
The arrests came as operators from Igembe North, Igembe Central and Igembe South held a meeting and threatened to hold demonstrations this Friday over runaway insecurity.
“We are ready to form a vigilante group to guard ourselves because we are very bitter. We cannot keep quiet as we are killed and our livelihood ruined,” he said.