Kiambu police probe Thika market blaze

By: JOHN KAMAU

The Kiambu government and police have denied claims they were behind a fire that destroyed property worth millions of shillings at Madaraka market before dawn on Sunday.

County secretary Fredrick Kitema said the allegations by traders are unfounded as the incident shocked everyone.

Briefing the media at Thika subcounty offices yesterday, he said the market is a property of the county and they could not have set it ablaze.

Kitema said preliminary investigations show it was arson.

He said “sadistic cartels” that have been “wreaking havoc” in the market hired goons to torch it.

Kitema said the cartels want to forcibly evict the traders to satisfy their selfish ends.

“They have been extorting money from the traders. The space in the market is really limited and they want to eject the traders to occupy it. We won’t allow this to happen and investigations are underway. The culprits will face the law,” he said.

Kitema said the county government will look for money to rehabilitate the market. He said it will be closed for a comprehensive refurbishment.

“We will take money from the emergency kitty for renovation to start within the shortest time possible. We will construct a modern open-air market to restore order and sanity,” Kitema said.

A security team led by county commissioner Alex ole Nkoyo and police commander James Mugera held a two-hour closed-door meeting over the arson on Sunday.