2023 crime and security roundup: A revisit

Interior CS Kithure Kindiki. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

This year had its fair fare of security lapses that saw security heads talk tough, some transferred, and so much more.

Shakahola Massacre

But what shocked many, was the exhumation of over 400 bodies from the vast Shakahola forest, 184 of them children, all believed to have starved to death before being buried in shallow graves.

The government was caught flat footed with many wondering how the incidents slipped the long arm of the law. The religious cult in the Shakahola forest was allegedly led by Paul Nthenge Makenzi of Good News International Ministries who was arrested and arraigned before courts. He is still behind bars.


Eldoret-based fashion designer Edwin Kiptoo alias Chiloba decomposing body was found stashed in a metal box on the roadside along the Kipkenyo-Kaptinga road within Kapseret sub-County in Uasin Gishu County on January 3.

 Slain LGBTQ activist Edwin Kiptoo alias Chiloba. [Courtesy]

Nairobi Hospital's Finance Director Eric Maigo was killed in September 2023. The Standard obtained exclusive footage of the main suspect who was captured on CCTV escaping from the scene of Maigo's murder on the morning of October 15, at the Jamhuri area of Nairobi.

Naftali Kinuthia was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the cold-blooded murder of university student Ivy Wangechi outside Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) in 2019, bringing the four-year murder trial to a close.

Insecurity in the North

2023 saw the Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki issue stern warnings to cattle rustlers in the larger Kerio Valley vowing to crash them and bring the long tradition to a close.
Several boots were also dispatched to the North Rift region this year, where many herds of cattle were stolen and several lives lost.

What shocked many was when cattle rustlers stormed a government hospital in Iten town and rescued their colleague who was undergoing treatment after being shot by police.

Police Reforms and Transfers

The retired Chief Justice David Maraga led a task force formed to look into the welfare of police, prisons, and National Youth Service (NYS) officers and recommended far-reaching changes including a 40 percent salary rise and disbandment of the current National Police Service Commission (NPSC).

President William Ruto receiving the final report from the head of the taskforce on police reforms.

Interior CS Kithure Kindiki also ordered the transfer of all local security chiefs on both sided of the Kisumu- Kericho border following escalating clashes in Sondu town that left seven people dead and several families rendered homeless.

Late November, tension was high in Kamagut area, Uasin Gishu County after the bodies of three middle-aged men were found at the Moi Barracks, Eldoret as another succumbed on the way to the hospital. The casualties had trespassed into Ngano maize farm owned by KDF to collect maize after harvesting.

Terror Attacks

2023 also recorded several terror attacks in Mandera, Garissa, and Lamu counties where police officers were killed after running over Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) believed to have been planted by militia group, Al Shabaab.

Early February, four police officers were among six people who lost their lives in a bandit attack on the Kitale - Lodwar Highway in Kaakong area of Turkana County.


The anti-government protests led by Azimio la Umoja Coalition also saw 58 people killed in different towns including Nyanza and Nairobi regions as the Opposition pushed for several issues including lowering the cost of living.

Azimio la Umoja supporters during the recent anti-government demos in Nakuru on July 12, 2023. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Still, on matters of crimes and justice, Judge Jessie Lessit handed long prison sentences to a former police officer, two serving ones, and their civilian informant for the 2016 murder of human rights lawyer Willie Kimani.

Haiti Security Mission

Kenyan parliament on November 16, 2023, approved the deployment of a thousand police officers to Haiti, plunged into chaos and gang violence, as part of a UN-backed mission, despite widespread criticism.

2023 also saw the re-emergence of Mungiki, forcing Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua to order security heads to crack down on the resurgence of the outlawed sect in Central Kenya and sections of Nairobi.