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Missing officer, 2,040 bullets put police in a spot

By Kamore Maina | September 20th 2021

Gunmen sprayed the vehicle with 20 bullets along Nairobi's Eastern bypass. [Kamore Maina, Standard]

On July 9, Joseph Otieno, a General Service Unit (GSU) officer based in Nairobi, went missing under mysterious circumstances in Nairobi.

Otieno, 36, who was attached to the armoury section, is believed to have been kidnapped by unknown people while heading to a supermarket near the GSU headquarters in Ruaraka.

Almost two months after this mysterious disappearance, another senior GSU officer also attached to the armory section, escaped death narrowly after gunmen sprayed a vehicle he was in with 20 bullets along Nairobi's Eastern bypass.

It is from this vehicle that officers in the city's Kayole neighbourhood recovered 2,040 bullets last Tuesday.

The recovery of the ammunition has put the National Police Service on the spot at a time when rogue officers are believed to be supplying ammunition to criminals.

The bullets recovered on Tuesday are believed to have been headed to the troubled Laikipia region where bandits are terrorising residents.

Now, investigators from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) are looking into the disappearance of their colleague from the GSU headquarters, as well as this latest incident that touches on a senior officer based at the GSU training school.

The questions they will be answering include if there could be a link between the July disappearance and the September shooting; who could be after these GSU officers; and if there is an attempt to target officers serving in the armoury.

At the Kasarani Police Station, DCI investigators said the police are yet to trace Otieno. 

DCI headquarters, Nairobi. [Wilberforce Okwiri,Standard]

“The matter is still under investigation. We hope to get results soon," said Kasarani DCI boss Vincent Kipkorir, though he declined to reveal more details.

In Kayole, the senior officer based at the GSU training school was placed in custody following his arrest on Wednesday over the ammo cache.

But even as Kayole detectives continue with investigations, the mystery of the bullets deepened after the GSU inspector distanced himself from the haul.

Highly placed sources within the police said the officer told investigators that he had nothing to do with the bullets that were found in his car. Instead, he claims that he was abducted by unknown people moments after he alighted from his vehicle in Mihang’o last Tuesday.

Hours before his arrest, the senior officer is reported to have filed a report at Ruiru Police Station, saying he was kidnapped by unknown people while on his way home. 

According to investigators, the senior officer claimed that the armed criminals accosted him at around 7pm.

They bundled him into a white Toyota Probox and drove with him to Kiambu before abandoning him near Tatu City coffee plantations.

He told the Ruiru officers that the kidnappers did not hurt him. Sources said when he returned to the point where he had left his car, he was shocked to find that it had been sprayed with bullets.

He was then informed by the Kayole DCI that bullets had been recovered from the car.

The police said a member of the public informed them at around midnight on Tuesday of a shooting incident in Mihang'o. Officers who rushed to the scene established that a vehicle had been sprayed with 20 bullets on the driver's side, and the windscreen shattered. The owner of the vehicle was not there.

The report from the Kayole Police Station to Vigilance House, said a lone gunman, who was driving in a car whose details were not captured, shot at the car.

“The matter is under investigation and we are yet to get the full details,” National Police Spokesman Bruno Shioso said.

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