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Residents of Kisauni demand protection from gang of thugs

The star newspaper

July 10, 2015

BRIAN OTIENO

A gang of youth in Kisauni that calls itself ‘Wakali Kwanza’ (First Toughs) is terrorizing residents as police grapple with security challenges in the area and all of Mombasa.The gang was first formed in late 2009 and went by the name ‘the Green Forest Army’, consisting of mostly youth from a secondary school in Mtopanga.The gang has now morphed into a radical group, with an estimated membership of more than 300, aged mostly below 20.Two splinter groups of the gang, ‘Wakali Wao’ (They Are Tough) and ‘Wakali Kweli’ (Truly Tough), have also emerged, with each commanding about 100 youth and competing to establish territories of their own.They operate mostly in Msikitini, Hongera, Barisheba, Mishomoroni, Magodoroni, Mwandoni, Katisha, Bamburi, among other areas in Kisauni.

They also sometimes venture into the Maweni and Kongowea areas of Nyali constituency.Residents and local leaders fear the gang might turn into a Mungiki-like outfit and have asked the security agencies to act quickly and stop them.According to several community policing chairmen and Nyumba Kumi ambassadors, who spoke to the Star, the gang walks in groups of about 10-15 members, usually with a member as young as 13 years old used as bait to provoke unsuspecting people.They walk with knives, machetes, metal rods and other crude weapons.Kavita told the Star some of their ringleaders walk with fierce dogs.Sources in Kisauni told the Star the gang members usually train daily on Manyani beach, Mishomoroni, from 5am-8am.They waylay and rob revellers on public beaches such as Jomo Kenyatta, Nyali and Mombasa, especially after 6pm.“They train in hard combat, sprinting exercises and other types of activities. Basically, they keep themselves fit so they can engage in their illegal operations,” said a Mishomoroni resident, who declined to be identified.