It was a cat-and-mouse game between police officers and thousands of youths who turned out in large numbers to loot valuables from the posh houses in Milimani on the outskirts of Kakamega town during ongoing demolitions.
The government plans to flatten the area associated with the high and mighty of Kakamega, only leaving true occupants that include the Kenya Agricultural Livestock and Research Organisation (KALRO) centre and the Kakamega State Lodge.
The area houses top government officials.
Multibillion-shilling houses were not spared as the bulldozer roared during the demolition.
On Tuesday, when the alarm was raised that the bulldozer had reached a place where rich people live, thousands of youths arrived with motorbikes and handcarts to loot from the posh houses.
The place is, however, being manned by police officers. It became a running battle when youth stormed the targeted houses, stealing expensive items like television sets, destroying gates, sinks, windows, wardrobes, and other items.
The youth managed to steal different valuables like kitchen items from the two houses belonging to two judges. The cat-and-mouse game between the police and youth lasted for almost six hours before police contained the situation. The youth were dispersed by officers using teargas and at some point beating them up.
Some were arrested.
According to some of the youth who spoke to The Nairobian on condition of anonymity, they were taking the opportunity to tour the area associated with the rich as they had never been there before.
They also said they thought they could take the items that could have otherwise been destroyed by the bulldozer.
“We have never been in this area, we only pass by at a far distance. When we heard the houses were being demolished we decided to come but to our surprise, we found out that expensive and good items were being destroyed.
“That is why we decided to salvage them by walking away with them other than leaving them to be destroyed,” one of them said.
Andrew Sayi, a caretaker, said the bulldozer and the armed police officers raided compounds at around 11:30 pm on Monday.
He said homeowners had received a court order allowing them to stay on the land until the matter opposing eviction was exhausted. [Benard Lusigi]