Teenage criminals’ numbers have increased; they pounce on their victims in full view and quickly rob them of their valuables, money, mobile phones, and laptops.
The ordeal lasts seconds, but at the slightest provocation or any cry for help, the criminals armed with sharp knives have maimed and killed the victims.
Authorities say there has been an increased number in violent crime — murder, robbery, rape, burglary — since schools and colleges closed five months ago.
The blame has largely fallen on rogue students aged between 16 and 26, who have joined organized criminal gangs. The gangs have various initials including Shiranga, Geta, Wakali Kwanza, Wakali Wao, and Six Brothers. Police have seized some gang comrades who are battling very serious charges in court, but some have met their terrible deaths.
Super CS Fred Matiang’i on Monday exposed concerns over rising cases of young people caught up in dangerous crime, pegging his assertion on alcohol and narcotics abuse which has contributed to the increase in cases of defilement, rape and murder.
Ring leader of the Geta gang in Likoni said that after taking drugs, they attack residents to fend for themselves. The attacks are coded and labeled “peras” and they plan their operations during bhang-smoking sprees.
“Sometimes we do not aim to injure or kill, but circumstances force us to do so. Our aim is to get what we want and then walk away,” the brave leader said.
Some of the gangs are traced to former football teams where players turn to crime, giving rise to the gang, whose members aged between 16 and 25 use razor-sharp knives during attacks.
In Nyeri, a masters’ student at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Technology was arrested a month ago after being linked to robberies and drug dealing.Police said the information technology student was arrested in one of his hideouts at Karia Dam outside Nyeri town.
The Six Brothers allegedly collude with rogue police officers who offer them protection at a fee. Other gangs, according to the police, operate from Kisumu Ndogo, Huruma, Kipkaren, Munyaka and Kidiwa.
In May, seven teenagers, including a Form Two girl, were convicted with robbery with violence. A moon later, five teenagers from Langas- Eldoret were charged with various counts, including robbery and drug abuse. A teenager was arrested with more than 100 kilos of bhang.
Barely a fortnight ago, were two teenagers in Nakuru aged 14 and 19 beaten to a near death by a mob in Shabaab area. They had tried to snatch a mobile phone from a woman while riding a motorbike.
Authorities say the gangs attack mobile money shops by recruiting teenagers, particularly school dropouts. Director of Children’s Services in Kisumu County Humphrey Wandeo pointed on peer pressure for the involvement of minors in crime.