STEVE MKAWALE NAKURU; KENYA: A wave of violent robberies and killings has raised fear over
spiralling crime in Nakuru County. Residents say efforts to give vital information to the police about
suspects and their whereabouts, have not yielded fruits. Read more at: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke
The arrest and arraignment of three ‘Flying Squad officers’ attached to Naivasha Police Station in court
over robbery with violence was clear evidence why the rate of crime is soaring in the county. Naftali Muira
Mwangi, Stephen Ndirangu Mbathia, Eric Mulinge Makau appeared before Nakuru Senior Principal
Magistrate Loise Komingoi and denied the charges. The three were charged that on July 11 this year at
Naivasha town while armed with a pistol they violently robbed Isaac Ndungu Mungai of $10,000. Ndirangu
was additionally charged with preparing to commit a felony after he was arrested with assorted chemicals,
two syringes, a motor vehicle registration number plate, two mobile phone SIM cards among other items.
The case is pending in court. In a another incident, Dr Jesse Mwangi, an Egerton University lecturer was
shot dead by a gang of armed gangsters who abducted him as he left a local hotel where he was chairing a
wedding committee meeting for one of his friends. He was shot in the back as he fled from the gangsters
after his vehicle got stuck in the mud. So daring are the gangs operating in Nakuru town that they carry out
frequent and daylight attacks on one business premise three times in a span of two months. A foreign
investor dealing in export of wool is now contemplating closing down his business and relocating elsewhere
following attacks by armed robbers who recently snatched his firearm. In three attacks at the Nakuru’s
Industrial Area, the investor has lost more than Sh5 million. “This is too much for me. I lost money and my
firearm in three attacks. What next?” posed the trader who did not want to be named for security reasons.
Other manufacturers in the Kenya Industrial Estate have not been spared either. A cigarette packing
company, a bakery and a milk processing company are among the latest victims of the armed robbers.
Most of the companies that have fallen victims to the marauding gangsters, declined to reveal the amounts
of cash lost in the incidences and instead referred us to the police. Statistics obtained from the Rift Valley
Provincial Police Headquarters in Nakuru indicate a rise in homicide, rape, defilement and armed
robberies. In the past six months -January to June this year, the region recorded a total of 10, 000 offences.
Half of that are homicide, carjacking, rape and robberies. In June there were 76 murders, 21 more than
what was reported in January. The number of armed robberies shot up from 78 in January to 87 in June,
while cases of rape went up from 127 to 144 in the same period. According to police statistics of burglary,
which have gone down from 166 in January to 143 last month. However, there was an upsurge in cases of
theft of motor vehicles from 24 to 30 within the same period. Although the report is silent about the recovery
rate of the stolen vehicles, and arrest of suspects, police sources told The Standard on Saturday that not
much has been achieved. “We have only managed to recover two of the stolen vehicles, the rest cannot be
traced,” said an officer privy to the investigations. Mobile phone money transfer vendors in Nakuru town
have become easy targets for gangs that operate in broad daylight. Six dealers in the money transfer
service and a commercial bank along Kenyatta Avenue are the latest victims of the gangsters. Total
amount stolen from the dealers and the financial institution is estimated at Sh500, 000 in a span of four
months. Sources we spoke to revealed that a 40-year-old teacher that was raped and murdered in January
had reported SMS threats to her life at Bondeni Police Station. The woman, who taught at PCEA
Jitegemea School in Shabab estate, was lured out of her home at around 9pm one night. Killed “We were
left helpless and they finally came and killed her,” said Paul a relative. “The police came to collect her body.
They never protected her while alive.” Paul says the police are yet to arrest any suspect in connection with
the incident. This is even after getting information about the phone number that sent the threatening
messages before the killing and other crucial leads. “It is a conspiracy. People get killed, the police do
nothing,” said the distraught man. “Either they are part of the ring or they have been beaten at their game.”
In another incident, a senior civil servant was carjacked and robbed of her phone, vehicle and ATM cards.
The woman says the thugs continue to use the stolen phone, which has a tracker and sends an alert
whenever a new SIM card is inserted. Despite the numbers inserted on the phone for short durations being
forwarded to DCIO, she says no effort has been made to arrest the gangsters. “It is shocking such a thing
can happen and begs the question: Are the police protecting criminals?” posed the civil servant. Recently,
the Nakuru Business Association Chairman Jayantilal Shah and his wife were brutally murdered while on
their way home after escorting friends. Police are yet to arrest any suspects. Police in the area have also
been accused of misuse of firearms. Recently in Nakuru town a plainclothes police officer shot and
seriously injured a PSV driver, Peter Njoroge, 49. Data obtained by The Standard on Saturday shows an
increase in economic crimes in the same period. Obtaining money by false pretence, currency forgery and
fraud shot up from 58 offences in January to 67 in June. Some criminals including self-confessed murderers, claimed to be working with the force. The situation is worsened by weaknesses in the police’s
investigation arms, and failure to arrest suspects, and bring them to book. In most instances, cases
collapse due to police ineptness or corruption. “I have been robbed three times in the last one month.
Police react so late and no arrests have been made,” said Ms Joyce Kimani a resident of London estate.
Nakuru OCPD Bernard Kioko admitted that some areas had become notorious for carjacking and attacks
by thugs but added that they were doing all they can to curb crime in the town. “We are doing our best and
on incidences where officers have been implicated, we take action,” he said. Mr Kioko admitted the police
force was concerned about rising insecurity in Shabab, Nakuru North Cemetery area, Section 58, Afraha
Stadium, Freehold, Mbaruk, Machine, Barnabas, Kwa Mzee Wanyama, Ngata and London estate. Read