- Three months ago, the sentencing to death of former Githurai Cop Titus Ngamau Musila, alias Katitu revealed the underbelly of being a super cop
- They are every robber, murderer and sex offender’s worst nightmare as they keep hard-core criminals on the straight and narrow
They traverse Nairobi’s crime-stricken low-income neighbourhoods like colossuses. The mention of them being in the vicinity sends young adult males scampering for safety. However, to the residents, they are Godsend due to their proven records of tackling gangsters head on.
Human rights activists have, however, questioned their methods of fighting crime due to the number of suspected criminals whose lives have been cut short by the barrels of their guns.
Three months ago, the sentencing to death of former Githurai cop Titus Ngamau Musila, alias Katitu or King’ei, revealed the underbelly of being a super cop. The Standard looks at some of the officers famed for how they do their job in Nairobi.
Samson Ogero aka Mkisii aka Biggie
No name evokes fear among young men in Dandora like him. Even long after he was redeployed from the crime-stricken area to Kawangware and then Kibera, tales about his mystery are still being told.
He would dress like a Maasai watchman, a roast maize seller, a hawker or matatu tout or even a woman to conceal his identity when under cover. His most famous technique was handcuffing criminals to a post and leaving them there for hours.
“He would tell you to escape if you want, but no one dared to because he knew everyone,” said a resident.
Once he identified a suspected criminal, he would warn his mother and even offer them fair to go up country. Quite a number of those who did not heed his warning sooner or later found themselves in trouble and some ended up dead.
He was also impossible to kill according to residents, who say several criminals wanted to kill him but were unsuccessful. In one incident, criminals called his phone posing as crime victims and asked him to rush to their rescue.
Unfortunately, the gangsters shot and killed an innocent motorist who drove to the area in a similar vehicle like that used by Mkisii.
So mysterious is this officer that none of the residents of Kibera, who spoke to The Standard, said they knew him by name. Earning his name from his dark complexion, the officer has been accused of tracking down alleged criminals using a database of pictures saved on his cell phone.
He operates with two other officers, one known as Bolt because he can run fast and one of his names is Hussein. The youth have tweaked his name to sound like the famous Jamaican Sprinter. The other officer is known as Mcoasti since he comes from the Coast.
The three can traverse any corner of the vast slum without fear and their vigour and style have in the last few years been a source of animosity between the police and the community.
Stephen Lelei alias Ocampo is a celebrated cop who has served as an Officer Commanding Station (OCS) in eight police station in Nairobi and other trouble spots.
The soft-spoken Lelei, who was the then OCS Kabete, was among the first responders during the Westgate Shopping Mall terrorists attack and intensely battled with the attackers floor to floor inside the Nakumatt supermarket before Kenya Defence Force (KDF) troops came in.
Although he was shot and injured in the foot by the terrorist, he has since recovered. The lanky officer who prefers patrolling alone is every robber, murderer and sex offender’s worst nightmare. In Mlolongo, he has used his tact to deal with highway robbers targeting transit goods and vehicles.
Lelei has served as OCS Ruai, Mwiki, Dandora, Makongeni, Soweto (Kayole), Kabete and Mlolongo where he currently serves after an initial stint as the Officer Crime at Pangani Police Station.
Once when Kawangware taxi drivers and boda boda riders blocked the busy Naivasha Road in protest over the killing of seven taxi drivers by APs, the then PPO Kingori Mwangi sought Lelei’s intervention.
In less than 15 minutes, Lelie had opened up the road to traffic, a task that truckloads of anti-riot police had been unable to accomplish.
He escaped an attempt on his life, but lost his wife when his vehicle, suspected to have been rigged with explosives, burst into flames along Thika Super Highway.
Habel Mwareria aka ‘Tyson’
A plain clothes police officer Habel Mwareria aka ‘Tyson’ is one of the many dedicated cops who worked their beat to make their areas of jurisdiction safer.
The tall, well-built and dark-skinned Muthaiga Police Station-based cop who got his nickname for his resemblance to American heavy weight boxer Mike Tyson was so dreaded by criminals and residents that he often patrolled the crime infested alleys in Mathare, Mlango Kubwa, Huruma, Eastleigh and Pangani alone.
During his days in the early 2000, Tyson, the man who speaks in soprano, kept criminals on the straight and narrow and would often walk to suspected gangsters homes to warn them or advice the parents to relocate them.
His presence with a colleague known only as Wahome sent shivers in criminals’ spines. Criminals believed he possessed supernatural powers because he moved like a ghost. He was famed to have always been carrying more than one pistol at a time and preferred lone patrols as opposed to his colleagues who always have to walk in pairs.
In May 2005, Tyson traced and arrested a couple who had kidnapped a child and were demanding a Sh250,000 ransom in Mathare North.
So efficient was Tyson in crime busting that he was redeployed to Thika to counter the Kiandutu slum criminals who were terrorising Thika residents. He was later redeployed to the Tourism Police Unit.
Timothy Kamunde aka Mzee
Timothy Kamunde aka Mzee was a dreaded Flying Squad officer and crime buster who ran roughshod on criminals in the late 1990s operating from Makuyu Police Station in Murang’a.
Operating under code name ‘Alfa Romeo’, Kamunde and his sidekick Daniel Seroney, who only reported to their Criminal Investigations Department headquarters bosses, earned the reputation of being criminals’ worst nightmare.
The two and their colleagues were among the first detectives to operate under the Flying Squad banner to deal with rampant and alarming bank robberies and carjacking that had become the order of the day in the early 1990s.
Set up by the then Director of CID Noah Arap Too, the Flying Squad under which Kamunde operated pursued robbers and carjackers all over the country.
When the hardened criminals relocated from Nairobi to Murang’a, Kamunde and his team also moved to Makuyu forcing the gangsters to move to Nakuru where he followed them and arrested some.
Any gangster who had the misfortune of being arrested by Kamunde would wet their pants upon seeing the collection of weaponry inside the super cop’s car which included guns, metal bars, hacksaws, handcuffs, pick axes, machetes and ropes among others.
Chief Inspector Daniel Seroney was a member of Kamunde’s dreaded Makuyu-based Flying Squad detectives that were only answerable to the then DCI Noah arap Too.
Like Kamunde, Seroney acquired legend like reputation fighting violent criminals but dishonourably left the service in the late 1990s or early 2000.
While pursing suspected carjackers who had stolen a car within in Kimathi Estate, Seroney was mistakenly shot by his colleagues and hospitalised for some time.
Had Chief Inspector Zebedio Maina lived to date, he would probably have earned the same reputation and infirmity as his predecessor Kamunde.
In his pursuit of criminals, Maina was once shot and critically injured by armed gangsters he had ambushed in a house in Mlolongo.
The Kwekwe Squad boss was the lead officer in the manhunt and crackdown on suspected Mungiki adherents who terrorised residents in Nairobi’s Eastlands, Kiambu, Ngong’, Ongata Rongai and parts of Machakos county between 2008 and 2010.
He is credited with killing hundreds of youth suspected to have joined the outlawed gangs and dumped their bodies in forests in the outskirts of the city.
He met his death when a police constable with whom he had gone to track down the kidnappers of five-year-old girl in Kitui shot him dead.
He is among officers from the elite police unit who died mysteriously after diligently serving the service.
He was pictured shooting two teenagers who were lying on the ground after surrendering outside a mall in Eastleigh in a video that went viral last year.
An under-cover cop attached to the Pangani Police Station, Rashid has been praised by the community for managing to tame the Super Power Gang that had terrorised the area for years. He has also survived several attempts on his life.
One dramatic incident that has been told and retold is a day criminals way-laid a matatu thinking he was inside only to find his colleague was the one who had boarded the vehicle alone after a patrol in 2016.