Kitengela boda boda riders protest over arrest of colleagues

At least 1,500 motorcycle riders in Kitengela town boycotted services on Monday morning to protest the arbitrary arrests of their colleagues on Thursday for allegedly assaulting a female motorist and destroying her car.

The agitated boda boda riders claimed the police had been arbitrarily arresting them after the Thursday incident despite their leaders offering to identify the culprits.

On Monday morning the riders boycotted a crisis meeting called by the police and local administration before downing their tools.

All motorcycles were withdrawn from the road, causing a transport crisis in Kitengela town. The riders who refused to join their colleagues were forcibly pulled off the road. All the motorcycles were parked near the Kitengela Deputy County Commissioner’s office.

“We do not support the (Thursday’s) barbaric incident but this will not be used by the police to harass us. Some of our innocent colleagues have been arrested and taken to court. We will not resume operations until they are released,” said Mr John Musau, a boda boda rider.

The riders who demanded the release of their colleagues said they were ready to help the police identify the culprits of the Thursday incident.

Kitengela Boda Boda Association chairperson Geoffrey Karanja said they would not accept a blanket condemnation of the riders.

We want justice for the motorists who were attacked and justice for our innocent riders in police custody, we have bad riders among us but it is high time the police respected our trade,” said Mr Karanja.

But Kitengela Deputy County Commissioner Chrispus Mwazoya, Kitengela OCS David Ole Shani and Base Commander Sarah Boella intervened and ordered the riders to disperse.

“We will not allow a few criminals to take over Kitengela town, either you obey the law or leave Kitengela,” said Mr Mwazayo.

So far, more than 40 boda boda riders have been arrested in a sting operation and will be charged in court on Monday.

Police in Kitengela on Friday arrested 20 boda boda riders and impounded 26 motorcycles after a major crackdown on individuals who were filmed attacking a motorist and extensively damaging her vehicle following a series of accidents in the town.

In an incident that went viral on social media on Thursday, dozens of boda boda riders were seen attacking the motorist and her male passenger before damaging his vehicle in broad daylight.

One of the riders was heard telling his colleagues to torch the vehicle. The riders were also recorded stealing personal belongings during the melee before the two were saved by police officers.

“Choma choma choma… let’s burn it!” he shouted.

The incident was reported at Kitengela Police Station under OB No 98/18/01/2024.  The police report stated that the Nissan Juke vehicle registration number KDG 265E driven by Ms Conex Kemuto hit a motorcycle rider and his pillion passenger Felix Delorie as they headed towards Kitengela from Athi River. Mr Delorie sustained lower right leg head and back injuries.

“The motorist then sped off towards Namanga through the Arusha service lane and hit Mr Bernard Mutinda and his son four-year-old son Hashley Baraka,” reads the police report.

“She drove towards Old Namanga Road and hit an unidentified motorbike, injuring the pillion passenger Damaris Wandia, who is pregnant, on her left leg and hands. She then hit a pedestrian, Joseph Mutiso Wambua, injuring his right leg and shoulder before she was blocked by rowdy boda boda riders at Enkare.

The badly damaged vehicle was towed to Kitengela police station.

The passenger, Mr Christopher Mutua, sustained injuries to his upper lip, two broken front upper teeth and bruises on his forehead. The driver is in police custody.

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