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Religious leaders blame high crime rate on drug abuse among youths
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|Religious leaders blame high crime rate on drug abuse among youths by Kenyans247(1): Fri 13, November, 2020 02:13pm|
Religious leaders in Laikipia and Nyandarua counties have come together to campaign against drug abuse as cases of youth suicides, murder and rape of elderly widows escalates in the two counties.
The Nyandarua Interfaith Council head, Bishop Josam Kariuki, says the spike in the cases was as a result of drugs, alcohol abuse and disintegrated families.
He regretted that hopelessness among the youths, who mainly have no formal employment, has led many to commit suicide and engage in wayward behaviour. He stressed the need for the clergy to walk with them.
According to Bishop Kariuki, the Council had already started a project with more than 3,000 youths engaged in Kazi Mtaani programme to ensure they were well-grounded in spiritual matters as a way of keeping them off alcoholism and radicalisation.
“We felt a need to educate these youths on religious matters and counselling in a bid to reduce early pregnancies, drug abuse, radicalisation as well as being used to cause chaos,” said Bishop Kariuki.
His sentiments were echoed by Pastor Njuguna Kihara who noted that the youths remain a vulnerable group as social ills take advantage of their hopelessness to diminish their worth and drag them into vices.
“We have youths who have reformed and joined churches and are actively being involved in church programmes, while others are now aware of whom they are spiritually. We are going to continue with the programme to ensure our young people are delivered from these vices,” he said.
Pastor Cyrus Wachira from Laikipia County said that there was a need for church leaders to come together and pray for the youths and cleanse the society of moral decay and immorality.
“With the string of senseless killings, we should indeed be concerned as a church,” he said.
But, in an interview with the Nation, Laikipia Central Sub-County Police Commander Isaac Omarre said cases of murder of elderly people were as a result of land tussles.
Mr Omarre said that in Laikipia, old women living alone, abandoned by their immediate family members, had fallen prey to their attackers as they remained easy targets.
“Upon investigating such cases, we find that those behind the offences are close family members who kill the elderly, who are original land title deed holders, to try and secure early inheritance following lengthy court battles,” he said.
“For instance, on September 2, 2019, there was a case in Matanya area where a 90-year-old granny was murdered. The killer targeted her because he knew the granny lived alone.”
He, at the same time, linked the crimes to drug use among youths who were idle, noting that those arrested for committing sexual offences were below the age of 40 years.
In Laikipia, about 25 general sexual offences among women and girls had been recorded in 2019 and early this year.
Mr Omarre singled out Wiyumiririe and Matanya areas in Laikipia central as most notorious.
In Nyandarua County, Aberdare Sub-County Deputy County Commissioner Lilian Njagi said the area had been experiencing a high number of suicides and homicides which she blamed on drug abuse and alcoholism.
She said that her team had also partnered with locals to end the use of bhang in Shamata area. The drug is said to be grown inside the Aberdare ranges.
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