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Hundreds of boda bodas impounded as police sustain city crackdown

Hundreds of motorcycles have been impounded by the city police in an operation that began on Thursday evening to Friday afternoon in the Nairobi CBD.

Running battles ensued after a few motorcyclists threw stones at Central police station on Thursday evening to protest the operation, according to the police.

The motorcyclists blamed the use of excessive force by the police and the indiscriminate impounding of their motorcycles.

Teargas was used on Friday morning to disperse the boda boda operators who had gathered at the Central police station to demand for the release of their motorcycles.

“Several members’ motorcycles have been impounded by the police and some of our members are in hospital after they were beaten up by the police.” Thomas Lesatin, the Chairman of the boda boda umbrella body said.

According Mr Lesatin, a group of rowdy motorcyclists, not registered under their body, got involved in a scuffle with the police resulting in the crackdown.

“The police are indiscriminate in this operation and are arresting everyone including the innocent ones who were not part of the rowdy group,” the chairman of the umbrella body said.

The police, however, denied the claims that they were arresting them on a whim but rather following the dictates of the county by-laws that prohibit use of boda bodas within the CBD.

Central Police Station OCPD, Stanley Atavachi, denied claims that some motorcycles were impounded illegally and vowed that the operation would continue.

“My officers have arrested motorcyclists operating in the CBD. This operation will continue until they tow the line,” he said.

Mr Atavachi also blamed the motorcyclists whom he said were hostile to the police and often turned violent whenever approached by the law enforcement officers.