Likoni residents vow to form vigilante group to fight criminal gangs

Some of the weapons recovered from suspects during a past raid.Police have gunned down a suspect link to the saturday machette attack in Likoni PHOTO: COURTESY.

Mombasa, KENYA: Hundreds of residents in Likoni Mombasa county have vowed to form a special vigilante group to protect them against attacks and harassment from knive wielding criminal gangs.

Speaking at a security meeting in Ijara area on Thursday, organised by local security officials in the area the residents led by local village elders said the criminal gangs in the area have carried out several attacks and they would no longer sit down and watch them get away.

The residents said the vigilante group has worked before and the area was calm as insecurity cases decreased.

The popular vigilante group dubbed Funga file and Forty brothers were formed to fight the criminals but they later turned out to be criminals themselves ,according to one of the resident.

However, Likoni assistant county commissioner Reuben Nyange did not welcomed the move saying it was against the constitution and they would not allow it to happen.

“We have the government and enough security,what we can advise you is to embrace the Nyumba Kumi initiative and this will be the only solution to curb insecurity,” said Mr. Nyange.

The residents had raised concern during the meeting that they were tired of being assured of security which doesn’t exist; blaming police of not doing much to hunt down the gang.

The area residents said the gang has devised new ways of attacking them, they said the group of about 20 patrol in the area armed with tools which they used to break into their houses; before escaping with their valuables.

The gangs are also reported to be armed with crude weapons like machetes and knives.

Ramadhan Mwinyi who had once fallen a victim, said a group of about five broke into his house at around 9pm and took a TV worth sh. 70,000 when he tried to engage the gang,they threatened to kill him.

Mwinyi said the vigilante group was the only solution to deal with the gang.

“I have reported the matter to police but they haven’t done much, they only promise they will arrest the culprits but to me that is the police promises,” said Mr. Ramadhan.

Another victim Bakari Mwinyi said the area was not safe anymore  because of insecurity.

He asked the authorities to put more effort as the gang was taking over the area.

“We have all sort of criminals hiding here, some escaped from Kisauni,Mombasa Island and other areas as they they are being sought by police,” said Mr Mwinyi.

He said at least seven people are attacked weekly.