Normal business operations in Kajiado town came to a standstill after boda boda operators took to the streets to protest rising cases of insecurity in the area.
The riders barricaded the busy Nairobi- Namanga highway for the better part of the day with stones, logs and trees and lit fires using old tires causing a huge traffic snarl-up.
Shops and businesses in the town remained shut for fear of looting with police officers being forced to fire in the air and use teargas to disperse the angry protestors who engaged them in running battles and stone throwing.
The riders were protesting the death of one their own whose body was found Tuesday morning with multiple injuries next to the highway.
The deceased is said to have ferried an unknown passenger at night at around 9pm before he was killed and his motor-cycle stolen.
The boda boda operators lamented that cases of motor-cycles theft had become frequent in the past few months with riders being mugged by robbers, pretending to be passengers.
They said over ten motor-cycles had been stolen in the past one month alone under unclear circumstances and blamed security forces for the lapse in security.
One of the riders, Joseph Lonino, said they were now afraid for their lives and have been forced to close business by 7pm so as not to fall prey to the gangsters who target their motor-cycles.
“Cases of boda boda riders being attacked and their motor-cycles stolen have become so frequent. We are afraid of doing business at night because we have been forced to close early so as not to be attacked by robbers masquerading as passengers”, said Lonino.
Another rider, Timothy Omwami, urged the police to beef-up security and increase night patrols as well as erect roadblocks along the Kajiado- Imaroro road as the robbers are believed to use the road as an escape route.
One of the riders who did not want to be named, claimed that the motor-cycles being targeted are those bought on credit from a loaning facility in town.
He claimed that once the loanee is almost done repaying the loan, the rider is attacked and the motor-cycle stolen.
Kajiado Central Sub-County Police Commander, David Loronyokwe, said investigations into the death of the rider and loss of motorbikes has been launched.
He urged the riders to remain calm as the culprits would soon be brought to book.
Loronyokwe further called on the riders to observe curfew hours, adding that robbers were mostly targeting those operating late at night.
The body of the deceased was moved to the Kajiado County Referral Hospital, awaiting a postmortem.
By Rop Janet and Munywoki Emmanuel