At least 46 suspects have been arrested in connection with robberies, arson and malicious damage of property during Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya coalition anti-government protests across the country.
In a statement on Tuesday, May 2, 2023, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki said that 14 were arrested in Nairobi while 32 were arrested in different parts of Nyanza region.
"Today 14 key suspects have been arrested in connection with the robberies, arson and malicious damage of property within Nairobi, while 32 have been arrested in different parts of the Nyanza region. All suspects will be arraigned in court tomorrow," Kindiki stated.
The arrests follow reported cases of arson where a matatu was burnt down along Ngong Road and a lorry transporting steel from Mombasa to Kampala was forcibly stopped along the Southern By-pass and burnt down.
Kindiki says that in Eastleigh, goons attacked Shell Petrol Station and stole 12 gas cylinders before maliciously damaging fuel pumps and vehicles that were parked at the premises.
"Only firm enforcement of the law stands between us and lawlessness and full-blown chaos. Any aggravation of the prevailing situation would certainly set back the country. No more violent protests shall be allowed anywhere in Kenya. With or without notices, demonstrations and protests of any type which injure people, security officers, businesses and property shall be prevented at all costs," Kindiki said.
The CS says that in parts of Kisumu, Homa Bay and Migori within Nyanza Region, riotous mobs interfered with the flow of traffic and damaged windscreens of several motor vehicles by hurling rocks and other crude weapons. He says that a number of private properties were also looted.
"On the basis of what has now become a pattern of violence and destruction of property, the National Police Service rightfully and lawfully determined that the protests pose a clear, present and imminent danger of a breach of the peace and public order," he added.
"To ensure the Country does not turn into lawlessness, security agencies are fairly instructed to enforce the law firmly and decisively. All criminals irrespective of the political party or group that they support must be neutered before they destroy Kenya."
Azimio prematurely called off protests that were planned for Tuesday, May 2, and blamed government officials for "hiring goons" to disrupt the demonstrations.
In a statement read by Narc Kenya party leader Martha Karua, Azimio said the protests will resume on Thursday, May 4.
"Tomorrow, we take a break to strategize and recharge. Our protests will resume on Thursday, 4TH May, 2023. Same meeting point. Same offices. Same petitions. Same people," she said.
Karua said the "goons" were acting under the command of Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Trade Cabinet Secretary (CS) Moses Kuria, were identified and recruited at a meeting in Thika a few days ago, then ferried to Nairobi last night.