Mombasa police commander Johnstone Ipara on Tuesday told residents to brace themselves for a major security operation to flush out drug barons and criminal gangs.
Ipara confirmed that so far 17 people have been arrested including Member of the County Assembly for Bofu Ward Ahmed Salama.
He also confirmed that police were hunting for wealthy businessman Ali Punjani who is suspected to be one of the key drug barons in the coastal city with international connections.
“We expect to make more arrests as we are determined to neutralize all drug peddlers in this county and other coastal areas,” added the Police boss.
The crackdown on drug peddlers and abuse come one day after Cabinet Secretary (SC) for Interior Fred Matiang’i declared total war on the menace in the Coast region.
Dr. Matiang’i on Sunday regretted that the drug problem in Mombasa and other areas of coast region has been spoken about for far too long saying time to take painful decisions to eradicate the vice has come.
“We are about to roll out an unprecedented operation to flush out drug peddlers in this region,” said the CS after chairing a meeting of security and elected leaders at the coast regional headquarters.
The CS who was accompanied by Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai said the government will provide the necessary support to security teams to effectively combat the drug menace in the region.
He said, “Kenyans are tired of promises and threats and therefore it’s time to deal with this menace head on.”
Ipara said with the opening of Mwatamba police station in Nyali and Junda and Conrcodia police posts in Kisauni sub-county, police officers were ready to conduct a crackdown never witnessed in the coastal city.
“We have launched security operation that is different from the ones that residents have witnessed in the past. Many will not like this operation but we have to flush out criminals including drug dealers,” said Ipara
He warned that drugs peddlers, their associates and those perpetrating criminal activities can run but cannot hide. The Police Commander added that security must be restored and that Mombasa must remain a safe place for locals, visitors and investors.
By Mohamed Hassan