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Inside Maragua, one of Kenya’s most dangerous towns

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Inside Maragua, one of Kenya’s most dangerous towns by Kenyans247(1): Tue 27, October, 2020 01:21pm
What you need to know:
And in October 2018, the town was in the news yet again after Judy Wanjiru, a 32-year-old barmaid in the town, was found beheaded in her boyfriend’s house.
Gangs operating in the town know no blasphemy or abomination as Michael Njoroge, 67, attests.
Currently, security agents are camping in Maragua after word went out that four capital offenders who escaped from Kirinyaga County’s Sagana police station were hiding in the town.
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An hour of driving along Thika Superhighway from Nairobi and a diversion at Kenol market will land you in Maragua, a small town in Murang'a County whose economy is driven majorly by the sin industry.

Security reports brand this small town with rugged buildings, whose money comes from agribusiness activities, as one of the most dangerous places in the country.

The town has constantly hit the headlines for bizarre murders and lethal armed gangs that strike on a daily basis.

On November 24, 2018, a butcher in one of the town’s entertainment joints slit the throat of his female lover just outside Maragua police station.

This incident had been preceded by the January 26, 2017 brutal attack on Jane Nduta, a 40-year-old barmaid. She was gang-raped, hit with a blunt object and left for the dead. Ms Nduta died a week later while receiving treatment in a Nyeri hospital.


And in October 2018, the town was in the news yet again after Judy Wanjiru, a 32-year-old barmaid in the town, was found beheaded in her boyfriend’s house.

Fake plates
The heart-wrenching infamy was the July 19, 2020 news of a 15-year-old boy who reportedly killed his eight-year-old schoolmate, packed her body in a gunny bag and proceeded to bury it in a shallow grave.

Apart from the butcher and the schoolboy who were apprehended by locals, the Murang’a South Directorate of Criminal Investigations has not cracked any of the above murders and many other serious incidents, earning itself the trademark of lethargy.

According to Jerry Okwatch, a University of Nairobi researcher on Home&beyond Security Initiative, the town is small and full of deceptive party life. He says from 8pm, youth walking behind you will most likely descend on you with machetes, knives or iron bars.

“I would not advise you to use motorcycle transport past 9pm especially if you are female and new in town,” he adds. Mr Okwatch tips that if you must use a boda boda, first check whether it has number plate as many rogue riders conceal or operate without them while others use fake plates. “Alcohol is freely accessible in bars that pull all the strings to defy the regulatory laws. Narcotics and illicit brews are readily accessible while commercial sex is on top of the town’s menu,” he tells Nation.

Gangs operating in the town know no blasphemy or abomination as Michael Njoroge, 67, attests. “I operate a small hotel in the town and recently as I was walking home at around 9pm, I was accosted by three small boys who strangled and undressed me. They ran away with my clothes to search for money at their own leisure,” he narrated. He says the gangs even break into churches to steal.

According to sources, the gangs and some bar owners pay weekly stipends to some police officers who in turn protect them by passing on valuable tips about security crackdowns.

According to County Commissioner Mohammed Barre, the gangs, who arm themselves with bows and arrows, confront officers on patrol.


Currently, security agents are camping in Maragua after word went out that four capital offenders who escaped from Kirinyaga County’s Sagana police station were hiding in the town.

Procure abortions
“We have evidence that the four have on several occasions been sighted in the town. We have shared the information with DCI and other government departments but for the past eight months, no arrests have been made,” said a source in area community policing initiative, showing screenshots of the said tips that were never acted on. Murang’a DCI boss Julianna Muthini said: “Yes, we have received those tips and we are on their case though they have remained slippery.”

Meanwhile, Education Chief Administrative Secretary Zack Kinuthia has decried rampant narcotics trade in the town,even mentioning the name of a popular peddler who runs a network of underage commissioned sellers.

He added that some chemists in the town give the underage family planning services as well as help them procure abortions.

Mr Kinuthia said a peddler identified as Alex Macharia Kimani recruits children to ferry the narcotics using school bags to avoid security detection.

He said the government will not tolerate security laxity and compromises that continue to expose children to risky lifestyles established as businesses by unscrupulous traders.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Edward Mbugua in a recent tour of Maragua police station was made aware that residents live in fear of the gangs and in most cases never report any atrocities for fear of reprisals. He directed Police Commander Josephat Kinyua to be creative in tackling the gangs.

https://nation.africa/kenya/counties/muranga/inside-maragua-one-of-kenya-s-most-dangerous-towns-2722788

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