NAKURU, Kenya, Sep 2 – Two people were feared dead while seven others – including three police officers – were injured during violent confrontations between police and tenants in Nakuru on Thursday.
Witnesses said the violence erupted after police officers tried to evict tenants from six housing estates in the town. Angry youths engaged police officers and council askaris in running battles pelting them with stones for the better part of the day.
Majority of those who injured were reportedly hit by police bullets during the fracas. Among those wounded were two women – one who was hit on the leg while the other – sustained injuries near the abdomen.
The tenants were resisting a move by the Municipal Council of Nakuru to evict them from the estates over rent arrears totalling Sh175 million accrued over a five-year period.
Two Administration Police officers were rushed to hospital with injuries. The youths set ablaze a police helmet and a cap left behind by the fleeing officers.
The fight brought business on Kanu Street and Flamingo Road to a standstill. The mob barricaded the streets, lit bonfires and removed advertising billboards.
A vehicle belonging to the Council was burnt and reduced to a shell while a conference hall located on Kanu Street looted and property damaged.
“We are not going to vacate the houses as the council has failed to listen to us,” one of the residents said.
A similar exercise to evict the tenants last month failed with the security forces being repulsed by the youths.
Former Nakuru Mayor David Gikaria who is the area councillor was arrested during the violence after police accused him of inciting the youths.
The youths demanded for the release of Mr Gikaria and called for the sacking of Town Clerk Sheikh Abdullahi.
Area police chief Police Johnstone Ipara told journalists three people including the former Mayor had been arrested over with the riots.
“We are going to charge the councillor with incitement and arson,” he added.
The mob barricaded the street, lit bonfires and removed advertising billboards on the busy street.