Villagers in Ichaweri and Ng’enda villages in Gatundu South are living at the mercy of an armed gang that has been terrorising them for the past one month.
Ichaweri village is the rural home of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
On Tuesday, the villagers staged a protest against rising insecurity in the area. The protest came after the gang shot dead a villager on Tuesday night and injured three family members before stealing mobile phones, cash and other valuables.
According to a police report recorded at Gatundu Police Station under OB No 43/10/09/2019, a gang of four, armed with pistols, invaded Patrick Kiruki’s home and made away with a phone valued at Sh3,500 and Sh2,000 in cash.
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The police report also indicates that another resident, Hellen Nyokabi, reported a similar case where a gang invaded her home and made away with a Samsung phone valued at Sh20,000, an Infinix phone valued at Sh12,000 and Sh4,000 in cash.
The report further states that her husband, identified as Daniel Kibe, was held hostage by the gang. It freed him after hitting him on the back of the head and right forearm with a blunt object.
The criminals also accosted Nyokabi’s brother-in-law, identified as Joseph Kagua, who they shot in the back.
His wife Mary Mutinda was also shot in the right leg. The two were rushed to Gatundu Level 5 Hospital where Kagua succumbed to his injuries.
George Kibe said they (he and some family members) heard gunshots at around midnight, and went out to check what was happening, only to be confronted by the gang.
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“One of them who had a gun saw us and started running towards us. We fled,” said Kibe.
Interestingly, the gang struck a few metres away from the President’s rural home, which is guarded round-the-clock by armed police.
On Tuesday, angry villagers barricaded Kenyatta road where they lit fires and chanted anti-police slogans. They were later dispersed by police from Gatundu Police Station.
According to the villagers, the gang has been terrorising and stealing from them for the past month.
“This village is becoming inhabitable because of this gang. We suspect the gang members belong to one of the outlawed groups,” said Lawrence Njoroge.
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The villagers accused the police of laxity, claiming they have done little to contain the gang. They also blamed police for not responding promptly to distress calls every time the gang strikes.
“Laxity by the police has given the criminals the freedom to do as they will. They are roaming the villages with impunity,” said John Kariuki.
Besides targeting mobile phones, electronics and money, the gang has been stealing livestock. According to the villagers, the stolen animals are slaughtered within the area and the meat sold to eateries along Kenyatta road and the Eastern Bypass.
“Since December last year, cattle theft has become rampant. We have been waking up in the morning to find our cattle missing,” said a resident who declined to be named.
Gatundu South deputy county commissioner Merisho Maina said security personnel were closing in on the gang.
“We are following crucial leads to apprehend members of the gang. We have also intensified patrols to beef up security,” he said.