Authorities in Kenya have banned night-time weddings in a bid to curb insecurity after police reported an increase in attacks by armed gangs.

According to a representative of the coastal region of Mombasa, Kenya's second-largest city, norctunal wedding ceremonies have become a target for knife-wielding gangs that operate in Kisauni, Majengo and other parts of the county.

Mombasa County Commissioner Maalim Mohammed is reported as saying that the decision to ban such ceremonies comes after a group of women returning from a wedding ceremony at night were allegedly attacked and had their valuables stolen.

The gangs of young criminals roam the streets of Mombasa where they brutalise and rob local residents and tourists, the commissioner claimed.

Curtailing of traditional practice is 'archaic'

While Maalim highlighted that police had arrested two youths at the Nyali Bridge as they were ferrying knives from Kisauni to Old Town, BBC correspondent Ferdinand Omondi reported security forces in Mombasa have also "been carrying out security operations and several suspected gangsters have been shot dead".

Commission for Human Rights and Justice executive director Julius Ogogoh described the curtailing as archaic and may divide local residents as it was targeting a certain part of the population. For the Swahilis, wedding celebrations are an overnight event.

The ban on dusk ceremonies came into effect immediately and celebrations had to end by 22:00 local time unless families or organisers got police clearance and paid a fee for armed officers, the commissioner said.