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Emergence of criminal gangs irks Malindi residents

Fear has gripped the residents of Shella and Ganda locations of Malindi Sub County, Kilifi County, following the emergence of criminal gangs that are terrorizing the residents.

The gangs of juvenile delinquents aged between 11 and 16 years have also sent security agencies in the sub-county on alert as they strategize on how to combat the emerging threat to security in Malindi town and its environs.

The most affected areas are Shella and Ganda wards, where the juvenile criminals are said to be conducting day and night robberies using knives, machetes and clubs (rungus) in the style used by criminal gangs in Mombasa such as wakali kwanza and wakali wao.

In Malindi, the gangs go by the names wakali kwanza, team pasua, team ngozi, team dema, team kapedo, team kalakwanda, team DNA, team kimoda, team katalunya among others.

National Government Administrative Officers (NGAOs) have confirmed the emergence of the crooks and vowed to crash them, while at the same time urging residents to be vigilant.

The Assistant County Commissioner-In-Charge of Malindi Central, Ms Irene Munyoki, held a security meeting at Mkanju wa Nyege area in Muyeye village, where villagers narrated their ordeals in the hands of the youthful criminals and called for quick action by security agencies to eradicate the gangs.

Ms Mnyoki blamed the emergence of the gangs of juvenile criminals on poor parenting and urged parents to take their responsibilities seriously.

She said police officers would intensify patrols in the affected areas, in a bid to stump the menace that could deal a blow to the tourism sector, which has shown signs of recovery in recent times.

“The people of this area have really failed when it comes to parenting their children,” she said adding, “You need to learn some basic parenting skills because it is a shame for your children to commit felonies, as you watch,” the agitated Administrator said.

“We have come here to inform you that those young people disturbing the peace of this area are on police radar and that it is a matter of time before we catch up with them,” she said adding, “Police officers will soon embark on a security operation and you (parents) should not blame us.”

She warned against the sale of palm wine (mnazi) in residential areas and ordered the relocation of mnazi drinking dens locally known as mangwe to areas far from the residences where they will not be able to adversely affect children.

“You cannot run this business in this place full of children. As much as you want to run your business to take care of your children, the business should not have a negative effect to the children,” she added.

Shella Sub-location Senior Assistant Chief, Nicodemus Mwayeye and his Kijiwetanga counterpart Baya Maitha confirmed the existence of criminal groups in their areas of jurisdiction but said they had laid down strategies to eradicate them.

Mr. Mwayele urged the youths to form self-help groups and benefit from various national and county government funds to start businesses, instead of involving themselves in criminal activities.

Malindi Sub-county Commander Wilmont Mwakio confirmed the existence of the gangs but said police officers had neutralized them, rendering them harmless.

By Winne Charo, Stella Kanini and Emmanuel Masha


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