More than 91 motorbikes were impounded and about 12 riders arrested amid rising tension in Karatina town in Nyeri on Wednesday evening.
The operation involving more than 100 armed officers led by Mathira East sub county police boss James Baraza paralysed business in the town as panicky traders hurriedly closed their premises following the commotion as the riders fled in all directions.
This came after one more boda boda operator was killed and his motorbike stolen bringing to seven the number of riders who have lost their lives at the hands of gangsters in Mathira constituency in the past four months.
The body of 21-year-old George Kariuki from Kiawarigi village was found dumped in a thicket at Tagwa forest in Mathira West sub county, two days after he was reported missing.
Last month, the body of another young rider Mr Eliud Wambu was found dumped on a roadside about two kilometres from Karatina town where he had reportedly gone to pick a passenger the previous night.
Mathira boda boda association Mr Benjamin Mwangi gave some of the names of those who have died at the hands of robbers as Timothy Wanjohi Maina, Elisha Wahogo Gathogo, William Kirii Gathu, and Ian Wanjohi.
Following the killings, the operators have been launching retaliatory attacks where several suspects have been killed.
About three weeks ago, a mob of irate boda boda operators stormed Karatina Level 4 hospital at night and flushed out two suspected motorcycle robbers and killed them after overpowering police officers guarding them.
They also went to the victims’ homestead at Ndaroini village in the outskirts of the town where they set their houses on fire.
In another retaliatory attack, hundreds of boda boda operators stormed the homestead of a suspected killer and burnt down his house in the General China area on Tuesday night. However, the suspect is said to have escaped the wrath of the riders.
Following the incidents, the police have been accusing the boda boda operators of taking the law into their own hands.
But in turn, the operators say they are targeting suspected motorbike thieves out of frustration accusing the police of not doing enough to deter the criminals.
Mr Barasa could not comment on Wednesday's operation saying it was initiated by his bosses at the county level.
Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua said he had taken up the matter with the local police commanders.
“I have consequently asked through Parliament for the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government to appear and explain the unexplained killings and why the police seem unable to deal with the gang,” the MP said on his social media pages demanding the operators must be assured of their security.
“Going forward, I shall raise issues of insecurity directly with the Cabinet Secretary through Parliament if the local police bosses do not move quickly to restore law and order and bring to an end the killing of innocent young men making out a living for their loved ones,” he added.
This is not the first time the boda boda menace has hit Mathira.
In 2018, Security chiefs banned boda operators from working past 11pm to curb crime.