Robert Kiarie, a Kikuyu gospel singer better known as Njuguna wa Kirathimo, had anxiety before he left his Kiamaina home in Nakuru for Mwinjoyo FM studio on the night of May 11.
Kiarie had been invited to grace ‘Kigooco Night’ at the gospel station from 8 pm to midnight. Before he left his home, he says he could feel something was not right.
“The mind was weighing on me and pushing me to say goodbye to my children and wife before leaving because I felt something was off. However, I chose not to and just left,” he told the Nairobian.
At the radio station, everything changed for Kiarie. The show was great, the listeners and presenters made him feel at home and his worry ceased. He said he began to wonder why he was so worried to the point that he felt he would not return home to his family.
Everything seemed to work in his favour until the last 10 minutes of the show when four armed men stormed the radio station.
Ironically, Kiarie was then bidding his fans goodbye, something he chose not to do with his family.
“How was my luck that I had to relieve the goodbye moments that gave me anxiety at home as robbers entered the station when I was saying goodbye to listeners?” he wondered.
The raid by the robbers was caught live on Facebook for about two minutes before it went offline.
The video that trended showed a person who was armed with a gun and had covered his face entering the studio’s door behind Kiarie who was standing, speaking to the listeners.
Then two guys stormed in, armed with machetes. One of the guys shouted ‘Zima iyo kitu, zima haraka’ (Switch that thing off, switch it off fast), while pointing at the show presenter’s seat.
It was when the thugs ordered everyone to lie down that Kiarie realized his premonitions were true.
“I stopped talking and froze but I was kicked on my waist, forcing me to the ground. The presenter was ordered to go off-air and lie down with the rest. I started making my last prayers,” he said.
Not knowing that everything was being caught live on Facebook, one of the raiders attacked and kicked someone lying on the ground and shouted ‘Nini unafanya wewe?’ (What are you doing?).
According to Kiarie, the raider attacked one of the staff who was busy on his mobile phone, which did not sit well with the thugs. After almost a minute, the raiders realized there were CCTV cameras and demanded to know where the data was being stored.
“‘CCTV ziko wapi’ (where are the CCTV),” said one of the raiders. A victim responded and said he did not know where it was.
After almost three minutes, the raiders realized everything was being streamed live and demanded the presenter switch it off.
“Zima hiyo kitu, si naona hapo mko Facebook live” (Switch that thing off, I can see you are on Facebook live),” said a thug that was armed with a machete.
Esther Wanjiru, also a gospel artist, was a guest on the show. She said she was at the reception when the raiders entered, forced them into the studio room, and demanded them to lie down.
She said that after Facebook Live was switched off, the raiders demanded money and mobile phones from them.