For the last four months, residents of Muchatha village in Kiambaa constituency have been living at the mercy of a ruthless criminal gang.
Such is the fear that has spread through the village that many dread nightfall, when the gang's reign of terror begins - robbing, maiming and killing at will.
Said to go by the street name “Quail,” the gang has been staging brazen attacks on the villagers, robbing them of valuables before stabbing them and leaving them for dead.
Residents say the gang, consisting of six to eight young men, has so far staged at least 50 attacks that have left more than 10 people dead and 20 injured.
The motive of the attacks and the identities of the gang members remain a mystery.
But all the attacks are signed off with a similar pattern - victims are first robbed then stabbed in the stomach, ribs and back of their heads.
According to residents, the gang starts operating as early as 8pm, when many people are heading home from work or closing their business. Their violent orgy continues until 11 pm before picking up again in the early hours of the morning.
The gang has sometimes been known to strike in broad daylight.
One of the latest victims is a 65-year old woman who was gang-raped before being killed last Saturday. According to the villagers, the woman was returning home from a church trip accompanied by her niece.
The two women had just been dropped off by a bus at around 9.30pm when the gang struck. The two were viciously attacked, repeatedly raped and left for dead.
According to her relatives, the woman died on the spot.
“She had deep cuts and head injuries," said her brother.
Her niece escaped death but sustained serious head injuries and is being treated at Kiambu Level 5 Hospital.
Relatives and friends found the woman's mobile phone about a kilometre from the scene of the attack, confirming fears that her killers were living among them.
"It seems the people carrying out these heinous acts are from within,” said her brother.
The village came to the limelight late last year following the brutal murders of eight people. The killings were said to have been carried out by the same criminal gang.
On November 5, 2017, John Kang’ethe, 45, from Ngurumwe died at the hands of the gang.
According to his mother, Mary Wambui, Kang’ethe was stabbed six times.
Almost three weeks later, Daniel Kuria, 65, a taxi driver from Muchatha, met his death in a similar manner. He was stabbed twice early on the morning of November 24.
Edward Mbugua, popularly known as Mohammed, was also stabbed to death outside his home in Kibutu village in early December.
Some of the lucky people who survived the gang's attack described its members as young and fearless men.
Purity Wambui was attacked as she was entering her home from work.
“They stabbed me in the head three times and I fainted. When I regained consciousness I realised they had robbed me. Although I have since healed, I am still traumatised and do not think I will ever again be able to walk outside at night,” she said.
Ann Wanjiku survived a daylight attack by a whisker.
“I was opening the gate to my home one afternoon when a group of young men wielding knives accosted me and ordered me to give them all the money I had. They attacked me but I managed to grab the knife, which I let go when my hand was injured. They ran away when they heard people approaching,” she recounted.
Elijah Wanyoike, 35, also escaped a similar attack with minor injuries. The gang pulled him out of his compound as he was brushing his teeth at about 10pm and only fled when a neighbour responded to his distress call.
“I escaped by the grace of God. I thought I was going to die that day,” he said.
But it is the Saturday's killing that has sparked outrage, with villagers accusing the police of being asleep on the job.
The killing came days after a public bazara organised by area MP Paul Koinange, who chairs the National Assembly Committee on Administration and National Security.
During the meeting that discussed rampant insecurity in the area, police promised to end to the gang's reign of terror. A few days later, the gang struck again.
Angry residents are now up in arms, accusing the Government of laxity.
The residents have threatened to stage a demonstration and march to the office of Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet in Nairobi if the gang is not stopped once and for all.
“We want the Government to crush this gang that has terrorised us for so long,” said Peter Muhia.