Lamu, KENYA: Drug users in Lamu East are giving villagers sleepless nights as they turn to stealing and robbing almost anything just to quench their insatiable thirst for drugs.
Residents now say the drug users have resorted to desperate means of acquiring the drugs including robbing mosques, schools and homes.
Many have reported waking up to find their doors and windows missing having been stolen and sold for the drugs by the users.
This comes at a time when the Lamu County administration has launched an intense and massive crackdown on drug dealers, users and drug dens with over ten suspects having been arrested and prosecuted last week alone.
Residents who spoke to the Baraka FM now say the drug users have made life more expensive as people have to keep replacing what the drug users keep stealing to fund their lifestyle.
Those who are able have been forced to employ guards who now guard their homes day and night to keep away the drug users who are always preying around.
Lamu East is the most affected by drug use with Pate,Tchundwa,Mbwajumwali,Myabogi and Kizingitini topping the list and also being homes to the most notorious drug dealers and users.
Fatuma Shekue of Kizingitini got the fright of her life on Monday afternoon when she was accosted by two young men and robbed of all her accessories and valuables in broad daylight.
“I was going for a wedding plus it was in the afternoon.These two young boys comes out of nowhere and ask me to give them all I had including by wallet,watch,earings,bangles and shoes.They almost made me take off my buibui since they thought it looked expensive and would make good returns.It was terrible,”said Fatuma.
Most of the affected villages in Lamu East do not have electricity supply yet and so many depend on solar energy.
Residents however say they have grown tired of replacing the solar panels and lights which are stolen on a daily basis especially from mosques and schools having been stolen and sold for the drugs by the users.
Omar Shee of Pate says people now live in fear of the drug users who are commonly referred to as’Mateja’ who are known for stealing even the clothes being aired on cloth lines just to quench their thirst for drugs.
“In Islam,it’s a very bad crime to steal from the mosque but these ones don’t care.They steal solar panels from mosques.They steal clothes,food.They steal on farms.They will rob you of your shoes,just about anything which they can sell for those drugs.And if the worst comes to the worst,they will kill you to get what they want,” said Shee.
He said many at times people have woken up to find their windows and doors missing only to discover they have been stolen by drug users who by that time will already have sold them at throw away prices just for the drugs.
Many residents have complained of increased crime rates in the villages majorly caused by drug users.
“Not a day goes by before you hear someone was attacked and injured using machetes of knives and whenever you follow up,its always the drug users behind it.Its really getting out of hand.You cant get into your house and leave you slippers or shoes at the door even for a second,they will be gone in a snap and you wont even know who took them.We are always looking over our shoulders.Its not a pleasant life we live,”said Zulekha Arafat of Siyu village.