Residents of Ziwani and Starehe estates within Thika Sub-County have asked the county government to rehabilitate a cemetery next to the Commonwealth graveyard which is slowly turning into a criminal’s hideout.

The vice chairman of Thika community policing council, Ezekiel Karanja said that the area that has slowly turned into a bush is being used as a hide out by criminal elements that terrorize the area residents.

The situation is compounded by the fact that all the street lights within the estate are not working, thus exposing the area residents to frequent mugging.

He pointed out that the muggers who are youngsters below the age of 18 are usually armed with knives and simis and are normally under the influence of either alcohol or bhang.

“We are pleading with the County Government to restore the street light as the area has become very insecure in the evenings and not a day passes without a case of violent mugging” Karanja said.

He said drug peddlers are using the graveyard as a hiding ground and the police should comb the area to rid the place of the criminal elements.

Kelvin Muriithi, a retailer near the graveyard said area residents are living in fear of being attacked by the criminals who idle around the unkempt graveyard.

“This graveyard which is incidentally situated between Thika Institute of Technology and our vast estate has become very bushy. We complained to the County Government and they installed street lights but now the lights have gone off for the last three months and we are now victims of criminals on a daily basis,” said Mureithi.

He said a few years ago, two students from Mount Kenya University were allegedly killed by criminals hiding in the graveyard; consequently the University has tried to improve lighting and security using a patrol vehicle.

Thika town has for the last three months registered an upsurge of muggings perpetrated by very young boys armed with knives.

The most affected are section 9, Ngoingwa, Njomoko and Castle estates where several cases of members of the public loss valuables to boys brandishing crude weapons

            A police source at the Thika police station told KNA that frequent crackdowns have been able to nab a big number of boys who are mostly from Kiandutu slums are normally highly intoxicated.

“We have arrested and arraigned quite a number of them before court. Our concern is that they are mostly underage boys but very dangerous,” noted the officer who sought anonymity.

He however promised that they were mopping up areas reported to be crime prone and will organize another crackdown to rid the area of the dangerous boys.