Authorities in Nairobi county have launched an operation targeting illegal quarries as efforts to reclaim degraded land within the city and its environs intensify.
In one of the crackdowns conducted by a multi-agency team on Thursday night targeting illegal quarries within Njiru Sub-county, four persons were arrested even as police vowed to apprehend those who manged to escape the dragnet.
Njiru sub-county deputy commissioner James Chacha says the operation will continue until all illegal quarries are closed adding that stern action will be taken against those who fail to heed the directive.
According to Chacha, owners of the illegal quarries have been conducting their businesses at night to evade detection engaging in cat and mouse games with security personnel. The well organised gangs of illegal miners are said to be targeting undeveloped private land especially in the city’s Eastland area.
Besides presenting risks for local communities, the deep excavations resulting from the mining activities have been blamed for increased criminality in Mihang’o, Njiru and Mwiki with the sites acting as dens for criminal gangs.
Meanwhile, Chacha has warned those developing land set aside as way-leave for power transmission lines and riparian land that their buildings will be demolished.
The four persons, who were arrested after engaging police in running battles, are set to be arraigned in court facing various charges including operating illegal quarries.