OMINDE ON GANGS: Unmasking China Squad and American Marines #KisumuKillerGangs
Like the two nations, the battle between China Squad and American Marines is that of economic dominance. A battle over resources earned from charging protection fees to small business owners in the informal settlements and public transport operators.
In addition to protection charges the gangs also offer protection services to politicians who visit Kisumu and its environs.
Word on the street is that part of this battle for supremacy has everything to do with politics as the American Marines group feels that it is not benefiting from the politicians as the China Squad seem to have already netted the “juicy” TNA politicians whom are alleged to pay protection fees of upto Ksh. 2 M per day.
The two groups wrecking terror in Kisumu are offshoots of the once powerful “Bhagdad Boys” which has since been disbanded after some of it’s leaders “saw the light” while others were either gunned down or are facing long sentences at various prisons.According to my informant from the American Marines gang, the current feud which played itself in front of police officers was sparked off by a disagreement over the sale of a vehicle which a guy called Bena (from American Marines) sold to Boy (leader of the China Squad). Bena claims not to have received the full payment and was assaulted by Boy around Tuskys Supermarket when confronted over the issue.The group claims that when Bena went to record a statement at the police station, he was arrested instead. The American Marines group who mainly come from Nyalenda where they operate several butcheries, shops and control the tuk tuk business claims that the more affluent China Squad have the police and provincial administration in their pockets due to their close relations with people in government.
My source tells me that their rivals are more organized than they are. Their gang is somewhat like a religion with “General” as their spiritual leader. Most of their members do not have a say in the gang and what the “General” says is treated like a decree from god.
“American Marines is not even an organized group. We only started calling ourselves that after the conflict started between one of our friends and the leader of the China group which was already existing before the conflict,” he explains
The two groups have no distinct areas of operation and in some cases you might find them existing side by side. The American Marines group however draws most of its membership from Nyalenda where their spiritual leader resides and owns small businesses while China Squad mainly operate at the Kisumu Bus Park and control the Kondele, Manyatta and Kenya-Re routes.
On Sunday 23rd September, members of the American Marines gang allegedly destroyed the perimeter fence of a private property in Milimani and not even a track load of AP officers could stop them. The gang was said to have been expressing their displeasure over the alleged assault of their Spiritual leader in Nairobi when he attended the AFC/ Gor Mahia match at Kasarani.
Now organized gangs are not a new thing in Kenya. For several years we have had gangs coming up close to electioneering periods and being used by politicians to silence their opponents. How long this trend will be allowed to go on is something that all of us must be worried about.
More on the gangs coming up…
This post was quoted in the standard newspaper click here to read the entire article