Police in Garissa have launched investigation into how a private hospital van that was involved in an accident along Modogashe – Garissa road was carrying bhang worth Sh.3 million.
The driver of the van attached to Takaba Nursing Home in Mandera West was overtaking a vehicle ahead of it at around 9 am on Wednesday when it collided head head-on with oncoming Toyota Probox killing three of its occupants.
Two died on the spot while another passenger succumbed to injuries while undergoing treatment at the Garissa Referral Hospital.
Several cartons of onions used to neutralize the smell of the bhang were also recovered from the van.
Police are trying to establish how the vehicle evaded several police road blocks with 56 stones of bang.
According to the North Eastern Regional Commissioner (RC), Nicodemus Ndalana were it not for the accident, the consignment could have easily reached its destination.
The driver of the van escaped unhurt while his passenger is also nursing serious injuries at the Garissa County Referral Hospital.
Ndalana who spoke to the press at the Tana bridge where he inspected a screening exercise, directed officers investigating the incident to carry out a thorough job.
“I am a very unhappy man today reason being I want to know how the vehicle evaded the numerous police barriers without being detected. Might it be that some of the officers are involved in this saga,?” Ndalana wondered.
“If at all it is established that there are officers who were involved, then it will cost them their jobs,” he added.
Asked if the vehicle disguised itself as an essential service provider, carrying food (onions), Ndalana said that even if that was the case, the police should have done a thorough check on the vehicle to establish what it was carrying.
Most of the bang that finds its way to the country is smuggled from Ethiopia through Moyale, Mandera and finally Garissa. Ndalana regretted that the smugglers have turned the region into as a transit point.
“But going forward, all loose ends that the smugglers have been using will be tightened,” he said.
The Regional Police Commander, Paul Soi while echoing Ndalana’s sentiments said that action would be taken against anyone found culpable in the saga.
Soi urged his officers to be more vigilant at barriers, noting that all the suspects in the bhang incident would be arraigned in court once investigations were completed.
The Takaba Member of the County Assembly (MCA), Bishar Abdullahi, where the Hospital is located, said that drug peddling is rampant in the area.
“It was a matter of time before those involved in the chain were nabbed,” Bishar said.
The MCA appealed to government agencies and all the stakeholders to join hands in combating drug trafficking in the region, saying that the impact was ruining the society.
“As we all know, drug prevalence and consumption can ruin an entire generation. We should not allow this to happen under our watch,” Bashir said.
Both vehicles were towed to the Garissa Police Station.
By Jacob Songok