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Mystery over killing of suspected robbers

By Michael Chepkwony and Cyrus Ombati | Published Fri, January 12th 2018 at 00:00, Updated January 12th 2018 at 08:18 GMT +3
The late Dickens who was killed in Kariobangi by police on Tuesday.[Beverlyne Musili,Standard]

In summary

  • Parents say youths, one of them a university student, were friends and not linked to crime but officers claim they were gangsters
  • Theory: Parents car may have been tracked and officers tipped off

Parents of the three young men are demanding answers on the killings in Nairobi.

When the youngsters, all in their early 20s, were shot at the Kariobangi South roundabout bridge on Tuesday, police described them as gangsters. Their bodies were taken to City Mortuary where they were recorded as unknown.

Thursday, when The Standard caught up with the relatives of Dickens Waga (21), Jeff Opiyo (23) and Elvis Ogeda (21) at the mortuary, they rejected the police version of events.  

According to Buruburu OCPD Geoffrey Maiyek, the suspects, among them a university student, had been linked to a robbery committed in Dandora and Korogocho, before a chase ensued.

Mr Maiyek said two others escaped, adding that two pistols were recovered from them. 

Three friends

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Parents and relatives of the youths claimed their children had never been involved in crime in the past and explained the three were friends who studied together at St Mary's Ukwala High School.

Erick Waga, Dicken's father, said he could not understand how his son ended up dying in the hands of police when he was about to report to the University of Nairobi where he's a student.

Mr Waga, a mechanic, said his son, with whom they lived in Kariobangi South, had never been involved in any crime in the past and it was possible the incident was a case of mistaken identity or blackmail.

He said his son’s friend, Jeff, who is a neighbour and was shot alongside him, arrived at his home at around 1pm on the fateful Tuesday before the two left in a saloon car that was later established to have been driven by their friend Elvis.

Mr Waga lamented that police were taking him in circles regarding the incident.

“Even if they were suspects, couldn’t the police use a professional way of arresting them?” asked the distraught parent.

Opiyo’s aunt Julia Wala was inconsolable after viewing the bodies of the three victims.

She said police had been mishandling them since the incident and asking them to pay to be assisted in the matter.

“Thursday we were asked to pay Sh3,500 but we managed Sh2,000 only. Today the same officer told us to write another statement and pay the balance of Sh1,500,” said Ms Wala.

Elvis’ father said his son had been working as a driver for his neighbour and was assigned to take a child to and from a school in Buruburu.

“Elvis came home in the morning after taking the child to school and washed the car. At around 1pm, he drove out. It was not until 7pm that his boss came to my house seeking to know his whereabouts,” said Tom Ogeda, Elvis’s father.

He said they tried calling him but the phone went unanswered, making him worried that something might have gone wrong.

“His employer showed us photos on Facebook asking us if Elvis could be among those killed. We saw and we were convinced it was him and we went to Buruburu Police Station to report,” said Mr Ogeda.

At the station, Ogeda said he suspected there was “something fishy” going on as police only engaged the owner of the car while he was kept guessing inside the station.

The parents suspected the owner of the car may have tracked his car and upon realising it was away from his Umoja home, tipped off the police that it had been stolen, a matter the owner denied.

John Wanjala, the owner of the Toyota Axio, confirmed that Elvis was his driver and that he usually took his child to school in the company of his wife, adding that he had nothing to do with the incident.

The families want the police to explain how the fled the scene without injuries if they were all in the scenario.

They are also demanding to know who was robbed by the suspects before police intervened.

In Kariobangi, witnesses were hesitant to volunteer information but those who spoke said there was no room to confirm who was shooting as the incident happened fast.

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