Frustrated Matatu Crew Assaults Traffic Cops in Nairobi

Traffic Cops Beaten
A photo collage of traffic cops who were beaten in Ngara, Nairobi by a Matatu crew on Monday, June 19, 2023.

Traffic police officers were forced to scamper for safety after they were confronted by a mob at Ngara, Nairobi, on Monday, June 19. 

The matatu operators claimed that they were frustrated by law enforcers who usually harassed them in the guise of maintaining law and order. 

Armed with stones, sticks, and other crude weapons, the drivers and touts demanded the police officers be recalled as they reportedly affected operations at the terminus. 

At first, the police officers stood their ground but were forced to flee after the operators hurled stones while baying for their blood. 

Traffic Police Conducting Arrest
Traffic Police officers conducting arrest on December 26, 2020.

The matatu crew members later convened and addressed onlookers while arguing that they were unlawfully targeted despite complying with traffic laws and regulations.

Police were accused of asking for bribes, arresting the operators arbitrarily and impromptu vehicle inspections undertaken to frustrate the motorists. 

It was yet to be established whether any officers or operators incurred injuries in the melee. 

The Ngara incident elicited mixed reactions, with a section of Kenyans condemning the operators for threatening the officers' lives and taking matters into their own hands. 

Others advised the motorists to resolve their issues legally as confronting the officers may force them to retaliate. 

Confrontations between the police and motorists have been on the rise. On Saturday, June 17, a boda boda rider assaulted five police officers he accused of harassing and arresting him arbitrarily.

In 2019, matatu crew members also attacked traffic police officers in Nairobi, leading to the death of one law enforcer as several others suffered injuries.

On Wednesday, May 31, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki warned the public against confronting police officers who he stated were obligated to defend their lives when attacked. 

While addressing the press from his Harambee House office, Kindiki affirmed that he was appalled by the rising cases of civilians storming protected areas and attacking law enforcement officers.

"Last month, a group of aggrieved people decided to storm Wajir Police Station and tried to overrun it simply because they were not happy with the officers.

"Last week, citizens who in my view appeared to have genuine grievances in Kericho and Bomet, attacked police stations and burnt them down, claiming that they have the right to protest," Kindki lamented. 

He stated that harsher penalties will be meted on individuals who assault traffic police, but also assured that the government would train its officers on how to deal with violent members of the public.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki making a speech in Garissa County on Friday June 2, 2023
Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki making a speech in Garissa County on Friday, June 2, 2023
Ministry of Interior
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