Loaded 'gunny' 'bags - Many teens are in possession of illegal weapons

Three weeks ago, a Pulse writer had just left a gig with an artiste when the unexpected happen.

A gang had trailed them all the way from the Westlands club where they had been spending the evening. As the two took the Baricho Road turn towards South B, two cars cornered them and the occupants demanded they stop and surrender.

“It was a gang of seven guys and they looked pretty young... say about 18 years old. They all had guns and had threatened to shoot at us if we did not follow their orders,” says our writer whose name we keep anonymous for security reasons.

“They commanded us to surrender everything including the car. The artiste had a lot of foreign currency and it is like they had been tracking him all along. We lost everything to them,” he says.

This is not the first time a Pulse writer has found himself in the line of fire, coming face to face with a juvenile gang. Sometime ago, a group of young party lovers threatened a member of the Pulse crew in Westlands, Nairobi, with a gun. The gun-toting youth warned of dire consequences if he didn‘t delete pictures he had taken of them making out and smoking marijuana outside a popular club.

From the incident that was witnessed in Nairobi last week where a cop shot dead two members of a suspected young gang, the reality of these young dangerous crews, a story Pulse has told over and over again is finally sinking in people‘s minds.

It is the reality brought out in Nairobi drama film Nairobi Half Life about young people taking a dive into the life of crime in the city. In the now continental acclaimed award-winning movie, the lead actor Mwas loses everything to a gang of young people before getting recruited to the same by his cousin.

Most notorious Nairobi gangs are made up of young people aged between 15 and 30 years in whose possession are illegal, easy-to-hire guns and ammunitions easily accessible in backstreets Nairobi.

“It is easy to acquire a pistol and ammunition for night hire. With Sh5,000, you can be assured of getting a pistol from a supplier for a night. Young gangs are working closely with people in these gun cartels now,” a crime reporter who sought anonymity tells Pulse.

“The youthful gangs mostly operate within estates and neighbourhoods where they literally know everyone and their way out. They also like operating along the highways where they target the rich as they branch into their neighbourhoods,” he adds, noting that some of these gangs are based in universities.

Members of university gangs are said to be influenced by peer pressure as rich students flaunt their posh lifestyles, flashy cars, trendy fashion and the binge-drinking that now epitomises life on the fast lane.

“The fact that illegal drugs have become so rampant among young people in schools and colleges has helped increase this wave of crime.

“To some extent, the idolisation of crime and a gangster lifestyle, as depicted in lyrics by top rap and dancehall artistes, who are popular among young people, has also contributed to the increase of youth-related crimes,“ Big Ted, a Kenyan showbiz guru reasoned in a previous interview

“People should accept that crime by young people is something that has found its way into our urban society in the present day, and that is something Nairobi Half Life brought out,“ Tosh Gitonga, the brains behind the film told Pulse back then.

Thrilling and celebrity-filled parties in Nairobi club hotspots are not all that safe. Identified and singled-out in a recent crime research report are places near well-known hang out joints.

They include Museum Hill roundabout with heightened cases of hit-and-run incidents. This spot hosts a number of clubs that include Tree House.