Armed robberies threaten Murang’a town’s late night enterprises

Murang’a County Commissioner Karuku Ngumo

Murang’a County Commissioner Karuku Ngumo. He said police were pursuing gangs engaged in robberies in the county.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Tension is high in Murang'a town following emergence of a three man armed gang robbing late night enterprises.

Police have received three complaints of robbery with violence since Thursday last week targeting electronic money transfer shops, chemists and general stores.

Traders are now complaining that instead of police going after the thieves, they are harassing business owners to be closing early to avoid falling victim.

 "It is funny how our police love the easy work...Instead of laying traps for the gang, they are encouraging us to close down our businesses for the thieves to lack targets. With such a mentality, a 24-hour economy dream remains largely a mirage," said Murang’a township business community welfare union chair Simon Mwangi.

In one of the statements that have been made at Murang'a police station, a female trader reveals how she was robbed Sh200,000 at gun point along Biashara street in a 11.30 pm incident.

 "I run an M-Pesa came in as a customer as the other stood guard outside...I also came to notice that they had a car that had a driver and had been parked in the shadows in the street," she narrated.

She added that she was warned of death if she dared resist and was ordered to lie facing downwards.

"What struck me as odd was the confidence the gang if it had all the time in the world and appeared not worried that police might pass by," said a neighbouring trader who says he peeped through his window as the robbery was going on.

Also going up are cases of mugging targeting traders closing up their shops and alcoholics leaving bars, phone snatching and con men.

Bars close

The scare has seen the town sleep at 11 pm when bars close, leaving the streets deserted.

County Commissioner Karuku Ngumo expressed shock on the turn of events saying all is being done to arrest the situation.

He advised traders to install CCTV cameras in their shops saying "modern realities demand more security awareness among traders".

Township ward MCA Machigo Karina said police should move in and bring back security confidence among residents.

 "Murang'a is generally a safe town and such incidents are unwelcome. Area people have always resisted criminals and it is the work of police to ensure our streets are crime free," he said.

Murang'a East police boss Ms Mary Kasyoki said "we have detailed area police commander to give us answers".

She said patrols have been intensified.

Mr Ngumo urged the residents to share information on the gang.

"Share the information to me personally...My contacts are all over the society. Let me know and you will get instant reprieve," he said.

There was an interesting case on February 11, 2021 in nearby Mukuyu market when a shop was raided by armed gangsters.

The following morning, a pistol belonging to a police officer was found near the scene. 

The Ceska pistol loaded with 15 rounds of 9mm caliber ammunition was found on a muddy path by locals who immediately notified the police who arrived and took it.

 "This gun fits the description of make that is commonly issued to senior officers. It is certainly not a firearm that was lost by a criminal. This is our gun," said a senior police officer who opted not to be named.

The then Murang’a East police boss William Kiambi said investigations had been launched to identify it's assigned hand but to date, no findings report has been released.