Matatu operators in Murang’a County have raised alarm over the return of the dreaded Mungiki gang in the area.

Matatu owners plying the 43-kilometre Kangare-Kaharati route have decried extortion from members of the gang.

Speaking to Nation, several matatu owners noted that the gang members now demands Sh300 from every matatu as compared to the 200 bob they took before.

 “Every new matatu owner who wants to do business along the route pays Sh40,000 as membership fee to the gang but, for new entrants this December, the gang has increased the fee to Sh50,000 with the directive that all new vehicles that have KDA plates pay up,” a matatu owner said.

According to one of the operators, over 200 matatus ply the route daily, meaning that the gang takes home approximately Sh60,000 every day.

“Simple calculations will reveal that the gangs now rake in Sh60,000 per day from us, up from Sh40,000. Its members have established ‘toll stations’ along the route where they flag us down and get the cash from matatu crews. Woe unto you if you defy remitting the daily fee even if you were not in operation,” the man said.

Murang’a County Commissioner Mohammed Bare acknowledged receiving complaints about the said gang but noted that it is from Kiharu sub-county.

“It is true that this road has been under the control of the gang. We know the ringleaders of this syndicate are not area residents but criminals from neighbouring Kiharu Sub-County. Since 2010, no other matatu Sacco, apart from Kigumo Travellers, has used this route, a monopoly that we broke in January this year,” he said.