Affrontements à Nairobi – octobre 2009



Caught in the thick of Nairobi riots

By GAKIHA WERUPosted Wednesday, October 7 2009 at 21:01

The only certain thing about life in Nairobi is its uncertainty. One moment, things are quite calm and the next, all hell breaks loose. This reality hit me on Tuesday evening.

I had been out of town the whole day and quite unaware of what was happening in the city. I had no clue that there was trouble along Roysambu-Kamiti road. Boarding a Kahawa West matatu (public minivan) at Roysambu, I settled down to continue reading a book I had with me.

As we passed through Zimmerman, the matatu had been going very slowly. Whenever the driver met an oncoming matatu, he would stop and shout in Kikuyu, “Murimo uria ni kuhorerire?” (Have things settled down across the valley?)

It was then I gathered from talk among other passengers (I don’t talk to strangers) that some Mungiki members had been killed by police and there was serious rioting at Githurai 44.

Near punch-up

A combination of regular police and GSU officers had virtually taken over the Githurai area. Just before reaching Kahawa West, the driver lost his nerve and made a U-turn saying he could not risk his vehicle being burnt.

When Nairobi residents are told they have to walk part of the distance home, they get hot under the collar. There was a near punch-up between the matatu crew and passengers over part of the fare. The standoff ended prematurely when a lorry carrying riot police tossed a teargas canister into the matatu.

Instantly, the quarrel over small change was forgotten and the driver zoomed off leaving his conductor behind. The conductor joined the passengers in a mad dash for safety across a wetland that lies at the foot of Kahawa West estate.

The main street in the estate was deceptively calm as darkness fell. There were no matatus and passengers heading out of the estate were stranded. I entered a joint that had a bar and butchery and placed an order for meat, as I waited for a friend. I had hardly finished a drink when gunfire rent the air.

Some patrons hit the floor. When the initial fright ebbed away, one bright spark suggested that it was wiser to switch off the lights and TV set. Another bout of gunfire. Another encounter with the floor. Then cops in civilian clothes brandishing guns swaggered in. They ordered everybody to leave.

At the butchery were customers trying to pay for and collect their orders. The officer leading the squad was told the butcher that since he knew all these people, he should just let them collect the meat and be paid the following day. For the first half of the night, there was sporadic gunfire.


Githurai chaos paralyze transport

Wed, Oct 07, 2009

Tension remained high in Nairobi‘s Githurai estate following Tuesday’s night confrontations between police and suspected members of the outlawed Mungiki sect.

The clashes that saw a matatu reduced to ashes were fueled by the shooting of five suspected mungiki members people allegedly by police.

For the better part of the day, Githurai residents had to walk for long distances after matatu operators plying the busy Thika Road withdrew their vehicles from the road.

Boda boda operators cashed in on the crisis doubling fares. There was heavy police presence as the officers moved in to quell the protests.

The protests were sparked by Tuesday’s killing allegedly by police of five people suspected to be Mungiki adherents who the residents maintained were victims of police execution.

There are fears that Mungiki members could strike to avenge the killings.

Travellers stranded as matatus keep off

8 octobre 2009

Hundreds of Nairobi commuters were left stranded after public service vehicles plying the Githurai route 44 kept off the road on Wednesday.

Residents of Githurai and Kahawa West were forced to walk long distances to work or seek alternative means of transport as matatu operators kept their vehicles off the road, with serves the affected areas, to protest Tuesday’s killings of five suspected Mungiki members.

The killings had sparked violent protests, paralysing transport along the route. Later on Tuesday evening, some of the residents, who work in the city had to find alternative means of getting back home as heightened tension had forced the PSVs to close business early.

Motor cycle taxi operators, which ordinarily charged about Sh30 to Sh50, doubled the fares as they cashed in on the transport crisis, forcing many of the residents to walk to Roysambu junction in Kasarani to board vehicles coming from Thika.

For those travelling to the city centre, only two options were available: either trek from as far as Kahawa West, more than 10 kilometres to Kasarani, or hire a motor bicycle to ferry them to the point.

From there, they could board the passenger vehicles coming from Thika to the city centre.

There was heavy presence of police in lorry-loads of anti-riot General Service Unit officers on standby to avert possible protests, amid fears that members of the outlawed Mungiki sect could strike to avenge the Tuesday killings.

Police killed the five people accused of being members of the Mungiki sect after they were allegedly found extorting money from a matatu driver and conductor in Githurai, whose vehicle police said they had hijacked hours before.

At the time of the incident, only the matatu crew and the five suspects were said to have been in the vehicle.

The shooting angered residents who fought running battles with the police for the better part of Tuesday afternoon.

A woman was injured when she got caught in the crossfire, and as dusk set in, a matatu was burnt by unknown people suspected to be followers of the sect.

However, on Wednesday morning businesses were open and residents went about their daily chores as usual, but tension remained high.

Fury as five shot dead in matatu carjack claims

8 octobre 2009

Police on Tuesday shot dead five people accused of being members of the outlawed Mungiki sect.

A woman was injured when she was caught in the crossfire in Githurai area, Nairobi.

The killings angered residents who fought running battles with the police.

According to Kasarani police boss Jasper Ombati, police received a tip-off at midday that five men had hijacked a matatu and forced the driver to take it to Githurai 44.

The police caught up with the matatu at Uncle Sam area in Githurai.

Demanding money

Mr Ombati said the officers found five men in the matatu demanding money from the crew.

“When the officers intervened, one of the suspects pulled out something like a pistol, prompting an officer to open fire. Four of them died on the spot,” he said.

He said the fifth, who had sustained injuries, died on the way to hospital.

Angry residents had a different tale. They said the five men were harmless matatu operators fleeing from the police, who they accuse of harassing them on that route.

The residents claimed one policeman entered the matatu, shot the five and “planted” a gun on the bodies.

When a police vehicle came to take away the bodies, the residents surged towards the matatu, shouting at the officers.

~ par Alain Bertho sur 8 octobre 2009.

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