Top Stories / National
Friday, 28 Oct 2016 08:40 EATnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.com
A woman was beaten up, raped and left for dead by at least five street boys along Moi Avenue, Nairobi, last night. The woman (name withheld) is a hawker who lives on the street, and her attackers were known to her. Anecdotal accounts of the attack given to the Kenya Free Press indicated that she was accosted by a street gang after she refused to share her food with them at around 12.30am Friday.
The woman, who has a one year-old baby, normally spends the night around the Kenyatta Avenue intersection, arriving there around midnight after her day's errands. She trades in whatever she can and is well known by some business people operating along the street who ocassionally give her money to buy food for herself and child. It is this food she shares with the street boys in times of plenty.
According to reports corroborated by several people who know her, around three boys asked her for food near the Jeevanjee Gardens after midnight, and when she couldn't give them any, they demanded that she gives them "the other food" and they started undressing her. She resisted, and the boys wrestled her to the ground, hit her repeatedly with building blocks they got nearby and then raped her in turns. The initial group was reportedly joined by two or three other boys.
Hours later, her baby's cries awakened her to consciousness and she got her way to her usual sleeping corner near the old Bookpoint premises, sleeping for only a few hours before dawn. She cleared her bedding around 6.30am as usual to leave room for businesses to open, but workers reporting at the Mount Kenya University building noticed her staggering, with the baby carried on her side, and at close range they saw her bloodied face and traces of what looked like semen on her clothes and legs.
Concerned, the workers called others who were reporting at neighbouring buildings and launched a fundraising drive, with wellwishers giving Sh10, Sh20 and some even Sh50. By 7am, big crowds had gathered at the MKU entrance to listen to her story and vent their anger over the rampant crime on Moi Avenue. One of the taxi men operating from the area volunteered to take her to hospital.
As the Kenya Free Press reported in July, Moi Avenue has become a hotspot for muggings, robberies and other armed crime. "Hardly a day goes without a major incident being reported here," a storeowner told this reporter. The street has become a den of street boys, petty criminals and armed robbers who inflict a constant wave of violence on vulnerable persons at night and during the day.
Business people and security workers who work along the street witness violence nearly every day, the most common being attacks on women by petty criminals. "So many cases have been reported that the police (at Central Station) have only minimal interest on cases from here," said a business owner who spoke anonymously for fear of retribution.
Full-grown street boys can be spotted along Jeevanjee Gardens, Slip Road, Kencom all the way to the Railways Station at any time of the day. While in the day the boys routinely sleep on the open spaces or help in garbage collection efforts, at night they turn wild and attack passersby with impunity.
As the gangs of criminals have become larger, they have consolidated their terror influence, and at night the gangs roam throughout the long stretch of Moi Avenue, meeting with others from Globe Cinema roundabout and City Market. Some regular users of Moi Avenue are reported to have taken measures to avoid the street. For example, many female students who leave the University of Nairobi Main Campus at night avoid the route, preferring to use Muindi Mbingu Street and increasingly Koinange Street.
Business groups here have failed to prevent the expansion of crime , which some of them claim is being propelled by the mushrooming of nightclubs along the street. While the stretch between Union Towers and the Railways Station has been a top entertainment address, new nightclubs have come up between Bazaar Plaza and the Kenyatta Avenue intersection in recent years. Some witnesses claim that drug trade booms on the street.