Friday Night Swoops Banned in Mombasa

Mombasa county commissioner Nelson Marwa has banned security swoops on Friday evenings. He yesterday said rogue police officers use the operations as money-minting opportunities.

Marwa said only “extremely essential” operations will be conducted on Friday evenings and this will be after many factors have been considered.

“Many of those arrested on Friday evenings are released on Saturday. How?” he said Marwa at a press conference in his office. His sentiments follow the recent raid in Old Town where police arrested more than 30 youth suspected to be gang members. However, only six were taken to court.

Marwa questioned the motive behind the security swoops every Friday evenings when many people are arrested and released in unclear circumstances.

“Why not conduct those operations on Wednesday or Thursday? Why wait for Kenyans to enjoy themselves in joints before conducting the operations?” he said.

When arrested on a Friday evening, suspects in most cases would want to secure their release as fast as possible as they would not want to be in police custody until Monday when the courts open for business. “I have told commanders we don’t want to see this issue of arresting Kenyans on Friday in Mombasa,” Marwa said.

He said swoops should be dignified, smart and intelligence-led so only specific targets are arrested. Marwa said blanket arrests should not be witnessed in Mombasa. He warned police commanders against using the Friday security operations to “enrich themselves”.

Marwa said the operations usually target patrons in bars and restaurants and populated areas. Those arrested and give bribes to secure their freedom have also been put on notice. Marwa said corruption is a two-way traffic involving the giver and the taker. He warned bar owners against giving police officers bribes so their patrons are not arrested even after regular drinking hours.