Residents flee Rongai as raids by thugs continue to escalate

Residents in Rongai are now opting to leave owing to the recent wave of insecurity. Some of the tenants from Kandisi have been forced to seek refuge with their relatives in other parts of the city, leaving their homes unattended.

Florence Jerotich, who owns a house in Kandisi, moved out on Sunday after four armed robbers attacked her and her family, making away with three laptops, four mobile phones, cash and a vehicle.

“I had just arrived home from a meeting at around 3pm on Saturday and called my house help to open the gate for me. As soon as she did, a man with a gun appeared from nowhere and tapped my window and ordered me to get into my compound as he followed,” said Ms Jerotich.

The gun-wielding thug ordered her to switch off the engine and get out of the car, and she obliged.

In a span of one second, another man joined them and started shoving Jerotich and her house help towards the house where the rest of the family was.

“On opening the door, the thugs started shouting at my husband and my son, who were both lying on the couch, to get down on the floor. My husband was a bit hesitant at first but I pleaded with him to do as they said to save our lives,” she said.

Older son

After asking whether there was anyone else in the house, the men went into the bedroom where they found Jerotich’s older son, who is a university student, and forced him to lie on the floor.

As one of the thugs stood watch over the family, the rest were busy ransacking the house looking for money and any other valuables.

“After a while, the men started asking me and my husband where we worked and demanded our financial details, including bank account numbers, ATM cards and pins so they could withdraw the money. I told them I did not possess an ATM card and they believed me,” recalls Jerotich.

“Unfortunately, as one of the thugs was going through my belongings, he came across an Equity card and he slapped me hard, calling me liar,” she added.

The mother of three thought fast and told the men that she had only a payment account where her salary was deposited but that she had not received any payments. She even offered to check her account balance using her mobile phone, which confirmed that there had been no money deposited. The account had only Sh200.

One of the men then ordered her to borrow Sh40,000 from her M-Shwari account but the request was declined much to her relief.

Infuriated, the thug went outside exclaiming, “Nimeenda kuleta majamaa (I have gone to get more people).”

“Immediately he walked out, I texted one of my friends and told him to call the police while we were still lying down,” she says.

Rushing back

No sooner had she sent the message than the man came rushing back in and grabbed Jerotich, the house help and the children and locked them in one of the bedrooms.

They told her to be quiet or it would be the last time she saw her husband.

They left the house hurriedly and opened the gate but came back to ask Jerotich to show them where the car’s cut-off button was. She obliged and after locking her in the bedroom again, they climbed into the car ready to leave.

“After a minute or so I heard two gunshots outside the gate and could not stop thinking that my husband had been shot. I tried opening the bedroom door with a pair of scissors but when that failed, I forced my way through the door and we ran out screaming for help,” she said.

Her worst fears were confirmed when she found out that the thugs had kidnapped her husband.

But in the same breath she was relieved to learn that the shots had been fired by the police who were now in pursuit of the gang.

“We managed to chase the suspects up to a nearby river where they abandoned the car and Jerotich’s husband and fled on foot,” said Rongai OCPD Munika Olondo.

Jerotich’s husband suffered a cut to his head and an injured leg.

Two of the thugs fled into the forest and the other in a different direction, but Olongo and his officers, Protus Makoha and Peter Omori, caught up with them.

Shot dead

One was shot dead by the police at the nearby Balozi Nursery School while the other was killed in a place called Birika.

“The third suspect tried boarding a boda boda taxi but residents recognised him and arrested him,” said Mr Olongo.

Magdalene Naserian, a resident of Kandisi, confirmed that some tenants had vacated the area for fear of their lives.

She said that recently, two watchmen were killed and cut into pieces by thugs who had gone to steal cattle in the area.

“Last year, a woman and her children were raped and this did not sit well with the locals,” she said.

The police however denied reports that tenants were leaving the area due to insecurity, saying that the incident was an isolated one.

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