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Some 250 Likoni, Mombasa youths who used to be members of juvenile gang groups, Wednesday surrendered to authorities.

The youths have attacked and maimed locals using machetes and knives. They operated at night. Locals dreaded them as their attacks caused grave injuries. But it’s no longer the case — they have dropped arms.

Likoni deputy county commissioner Eric Wamulevu assured those surrendering of their safety. He spoke during a forum bringing together reformed gang members, security agencies, and human rights groups at Likoni ACK Guest House.

Muhuri, Red Cross, and Mombasa County Government are leading the reform initiative that assists youths involved in crime reintegrate into society.

Muhuri rapid response officer Francis Auma said police must learn to accept reformed gang members and help them reintegrate into society.

“Mistrust between the community and the police is the major problem. Police do not trust the youth, and the youth do not trust the police. These two groups must learn to work together,” Auma said.

(This story has been updated)