Garissa, Friday, February 2, 2018 KNA
The murder of two night watchmen guarding a hardware store at Madogo trading centre situated along the Garissa – Mwingi highway Wednesday night sparked riots from angry residents who lit bonfires on the busy road paralyzing transport for over six hours.
It took reinforcement from Garissa town police station after their colleagues from Madogo were overpowered to disperse rowdy crowd who were baying for the blood of the hardware store.
One of the residents who requested anonymity claimed that the rioters were allegedly angered by the murder that resembled the one of 2014 where a watchman was murdered in the same way at the same place, in the same hardware. They claimed that murder was never resolved.
“We are demanding the police to go to the bottom of these killings because something is not adding up. We need to be told the truth. This is not the first time such killing is happening,” he said.
One of the co-owners of the hardware cheated death narrowly when he was cornered by the angry panga welding youth but he managed to outwit them. He was slightly injured.
The police were forced to use tears gas and live bullets to disperse the rowdy crowd that managed to break into the hardware shop and loot property before setting one of the canter trucks parked inside on fire.
A fire brigade from Garissa County government was immediately called in and managed to save the canter from being completely consumed by the raging fire.
Four people were allegedly hit by stray bullets during the melee and were rushed to Garissa Referral Hospital.
Those who spoke to the press while condemning the looting and destruction of property urged the police to investigate the murder and ensure those behind it were brought to book.
According to Abdiwelli Loka who was among the first to arrive at the scene, one of the watchman was slit in the throat while his colleague was strangled using a rope. They murderers escaped with an unknown amount of money.
Their bodies were removed to the Garissa referral hospital mortuary for postmortem to be buried later according to Islamic burial rites.
He urged the residents to remain calm and desist from avenging their anger on the private property and instead allow the police to investigate the incident.
Abdiweli said Muslim clerics and other leaders are engaging the youth in calming them down.
Garissa Governor Ali Korane, who was traveling to Nairobi, was also caught up in the confrontation. He was forced to park his vehicle at a petrol station to wait for clearance. He later left for Nairobi.
Several buses plying the route and other motorist from Garissa were also delayed for over six hours before the road was cleared for traffic.
A truck load of police officers were still patrolling the highway for fear that the youth may regroup and disrupt traffic on the busy highway.