Kenya

Angry Migori residents torch homes belonging to robbery suspects

Angry Migori residents torch homes belonging to robbery suspects

They chased away the suspects' family members before razing down the three houses.

Photo credit: Courtesy

Irate residents of Kakrao village, Migori County, on Thursday gutted down three houses and household items belonging to five suspected robbers who are currently in police custody.

Police officers watched helplessly as the irate residents, armed with crude weapons and fuel, raided the homes of Geoffrey Pinto, Dismus Ochieng, Victor Omondi, Emmanuel Odhiambo and John James.

They chased away their family members before razing down the three houses.

They then broke into a rental house where one of the suspects lived and carted away all household goods to the roadside before setting them ablaze.

Migori County police commander Mark Wanjala said officers have heightened patrols to quell rising tensions after it emerged that the mob was still looking for other robbery suspects.

“Investigations are ongoing, not only into a recent shop break-in where the suspects were arrested, but also into other three murders. Residents should desist from taking the law into their hands especially when the suspects are in custody,” Mr Wanjala told the press.

On Thursday, the five men were brought before a Migori court but did not take plea as authorities seek more time finish their probe.

“I’m seeking orders that the honourable court grant the application to complete investigations and the accused be remanded at Migori Police Station to avoid interfering with witnesses,” read part of the motion filed by the prosecution.

The suspects were allegedly captured by security cameras as they broke into a wholesale shop in Kakrao area.

A security guard manning the building was seriously assaulted during the Tuesday night raid and is still nursing injuries in hospital.

The police say they need more time to obtain the CCTV footage, make recoveries and obtain call log information from Safaricom from a separate scene where a watchman was killed in December last year.

“We have borne the brunt of attacks by the gang. People are shying away from running their businesses in this area for fear of being attacked. We want the police to take the matter to its logical conclusion,” Moses Ouma, the owner of a hardware store, said.

On Wednesday, police rescued one of the suspects from an angry mob after he was identified from the CCTV clips.

Charles Lokoye, the Kakrao Boda Boda chairman, said residents decided to burn the homesteads of the five because locals had reported their suspicions to authorities but the suspects were not apprehended.

Charles Ameso, a Kakrao resident, said they have been living in fear and were perturbed when the CCTV footage revealed that their own neighbours were behind insecurity in the area.

“It is shocking that those behind the attacks and robberies are next door neighbours. We have been raising funds for victims assaulted only to realise that those behind the attacks are well known,” Mr Ameso said.