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Gang Takes Control of Ksh1.9B Mombasa Floating Bridge

  • Mombasa residents have raised concerns over a gang that has reportedly taken control of the Ksh1.9 billion Liwatoni floating bridge in Likoni, Mombasa County. 

    Pedestrians, PSV operators and traders said that the goons subject them to forcefully and exorbitantly charge to access the bridge unveiled by President Uhuru Kenyatta in December 2020. 

    Traders lamented that they are harassed, assaulted and businesses are interfered with by the cartels despite police patrolling the bridge. The business people reportedly pay over Ksh 250 as a protection fee and part with some money at the end of each day. 

    “The groups claim to be residents of the area and the rightful heir to the property! 

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    President Uhuru Kenyatta unveils the Liwatoni Floating Bridge in Likoni Mombasa on Thursday, December 10, 2020

    PSCU

    “Being natives of this place, they demand payment lest they assault and kick you off the bridge,” one trader complained. 

    PSV operators added that they are forced to dump commuters far from the bridge as they fear being manhandled and their income stolen by the notorious gang. Some of them claimed that the thugs even go to the extent of vandalising their matatus. 

    On Thursday, April 15, Mombasa County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo and acting Likoni Sub County Police Commander Jackton Opengo differed on the whereabouts of the gang, with the former denying the reports. 

    Kitiyo stated that the gang did not exist and that police were only aware of rogue touts who were illegally operating on the bridge. Opengo, however, said that police had launched a crackdown on the reported gang, arresting nearly 20 in the past weeks. 

    A team comprising of Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Kenya Coast Guard Services (KUCGS), the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA), the National Police Service (NPS) and the Coast Regional Commissioners office formed a task force to oversee security matters when the bridge was officially opened for public use on Friday, January 1. 

    “The committee will address the safety of both pedestrians and vessels at the floating bridge and also bolster safety standards and confidence of commuters,” KMA Director General Robert Njue said on Wednesday, January 13.

    The team was tasked with unveiling rapid response plans, creating public awareness and engaging government agencies on safety issues aligned with the bridge. 

    The 800-meter bridge operates between 6 am and 8 am in the morning and between 4 pm and 6 pm in the evening. Residents were urged to prefer the bridge to the ferry especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

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    Mombasa residents use the new Liwatoni floating bridge on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2021

    PSCU

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