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Priest’s face-to-face encounter with ‘merchants’ of death

By Jeckonia Otieno | Sep 30th 2015 | 4 min read

Five times a gun was pressed to his temple and cocked but no shot was fired during his seven-hour ordeal at the hands of gun-toting carjackers.

It was about 7:45pm on March 30 when Reverend Ken Aringo arrived at his residence in Anyany Estate, Nairobi.

The Anglican priest, who serves at St Paul’s Parish South C, and is both a motivational speaker and counsellor, alighted to open the gate. Unknown to him there were carjackers lurking in the darkness.

“I had just had a busy weekend with young leaders in Sagana and had come to receive them at All Saints Cathedral. I then dropped some of them home and after dropping the last one who also lives in Ayany, I headed straight home,” he says.

The reverend had taken a few steps from his car when he was approached by a young man, probably in his mid-twenties, who pointed to his waist where a pistol was tucked.

Aringo says: “He then ordered me back to the car telling me to keep quiet because any commotion would lead to my death.”

The two walked back to the car and Aringo, whose engine was still running, discovered that there were two more young men in the car – one in the driver’s seat and the other in the passenger’s seat.

The gunman who had approached Aringo pressed the gun to his rib as they got into the back seat. The car was driven towards Rowalan Camp where another car was waiting with other thugs and the two cars followed each other towards Jamhuri Park.

“By this time they had taken my phone and wallet and asked for my ATM card pin numbers, which I gave them. They also used my coat to cover my head so I would not know where we were headed,” Aringo says.

He continues: “All along, they kept musing at how I was such a young pastor and when I told them how I was raised in the ghetto and shared my journey to priesthood they relaxed a bit.”

After driving around for a while, a problem arose. The drivers of other car had apparently gone to an ATM but they could not withdraw cash and the information was relayed back to the car holding Aringo through a phone call.

This angered the thugs who hit him demanding the correct pin. He insisted it was correct and asked which bank they had gone to. He told them that they had to go to the same bank that issued the card.

“They withdrew Sh30,000, which was the maximum for the day and realised that there was some more money which they could not withdraw so they told me we had to wait until midnight to withdraw the remaining amount,” he says.

They drove around and at one point moved him to the salon car where one of the thugs sat on his head and the other his lower body.

Earlier, they had seen the photo of his daughter on his phone and told him she still needed him so they would not kill him.

“During the ordeal, my wife called and the carjackers told me to tell her I was fine and that I would be home soon. When she called again, the story was the same and then my friend, who I had dropped last, also called and scolded me asking why I was lying to my wife. Little did they know I was following orders with a gun pointed to my head,” he says.

The thugs kept assuring him that all they wanted was his co-operation or else they would shoot him. Aringo says some unnatural force – probably the power of God – gave him composure and helped him stay calm.

“After midnight, we went to an ATM on Harambee Avenue and they withdrew the remaining amount. We drove on and then I felt them put my keys in my pocket before they threw me out of the vehicle,” he says.

He realised the thugs had left him at Kaloleni estate and after struggling to untie his hands went knocking on doors but no-one was willing to open on account of the ungodly hour.

Bleeding, exhausted and drenched from a slight drizzle, Aringo saw a church sign post and made his way there. It took him more than half an hour to convince the askari to call his wife and it was only after that that he opened the church gate.

Soon a friend came to pick him up and took him to hospital for first aid while another reported the matter at Kilimani Police Station. Before 3am, his car had been recovered.

Not only did the thugs manage to withdraw Sh60,000 from his account they also made away with public address equipment he had in his car.

“They told me they could not understand why they had not shot me yet they were in the killing business,” he says.

The reverend says this encounter motivated him to double his efforts to reach out to youths, saying his desire is to influence them before they get caught up in crime.


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