The machete-wielding gangs in Mombasa have been terrorizing residents in various sub-counties within Mombasa, with Likoni and Kisauni emerging at the top of the most affected ones.
These gangs are normally armed with crude weapons, mostly pangas and knives, and they are really dangerous.Some gang members have shared with Sunday Nation key tactics they use to rob residents, and reasons why they end up injuring and even killing their targets.One of the leaders of Likoni-based gang which goes by the name Geta, Salim (not real name), said that robbing residents is their only way of survival. The gang is made up of at least 20 members aged between between 14 and 26 years.
Salim, 21, said that since he joined the group in 2013 after his parents succumbed to HIV/AIDS related ailments, three of their members have been killed but the group never stopped its operations.
“That is the only way we make money. We have to attack people so that we can fend for ourselves,” says Salim as quoted by Sunday Nation.
Salim said that they usually meet at their hideout in Majengo Mapya in Likoni where they engage in using drugs, mostly bhang before planning attacks.
“It is during these bhang-smoking sprees that we plan and agree on which area to attack on any particular day. Those who will go for the operation are then selected while others are left behind,” he says
Salim also noted that sometimes they group themselves into smaller groups before they carry out simultaneous attacks in different areas.
He said that they never plan to injure people during their attacks, but end up doing so when circumstances force them, which includes when the target is not resisting to be robbed or when he/s fights back.
Another reformed gang member of the Kisauni-based Waliotengwa, said that they rob people to get money used to buy drugs.
He said they use money robbed from people to party, in drugs and other needs for themselves.
“The remaining cash we give to our parents. We have to provide for our families and we can only do so by giving our guardians some money,” he revealed.
Other gang like Wakali wao and Wakali kwanza which are all based in Kisauni started as football teams before they later changed their agenda.
“Football does not pay in Kenya, that is why we started robbing people to make ends meet,” says one of Wakali Wao gangsters.
Coast regional police commander Marcus Ochola says police have been able to handle the gangs and that their recent attack in Bamburi was just a rare case.
“What happened on Monday was just a rare case. In the past seven months, we have had no attacks. We have managed to deal with the youths and anyone who wants to disrupt the existing peace,” Ochola said as quoted by Sunday Nation.