4 September 2013

Kenya: Gangs On Motor Bikes Terrorise the City

On Friday August 16, 2013, a businesswoman was driving a Mercedes Benz with her 45-year-old sister Rekha Shah on board when they were accosted by four men riding on a motorcycle in Nairobi.

Passengers in the car who sought anonymity said four gunmen dressed in overcoats walked in between vehicles held in a traffic snarl-up on Enterprise Road near the Shell filling station and Kenya Wine Agencies premises and banged on both sides of the vehicle before dragging the shaken driver out.

The gunmen fired once to scare other motorists at the 5pm incident asthe businesswoman's workers and family members watched in horror.

During the commotion, Rekha who was in the front passenger's seat opened her own door and alighted, to check on her sister whom she feared had been shot by the gunmen. It is then that the gunmen shot her in the abdomen at close range as she raised her hands begging for her life.

One of the gunmen grabbed a handbag containing Sh15,000 and other personal items before the four majestically walked to two waiting motorcycles on which they sped off towards Mukuru Kwa Reuben.

The four gunmen almost knocked down a traffic policeman on duty on the road. A police rider held in traffic also watched helplessly as the gunmen sped off after committing the crimes, witnesses said.

"I saw four gunmen in trench coats holding guns on their sides walking between cars towards us. I told Rekha that gunmen were walking towards us and they started banging the car from both sides. I opened the door and they grabbed my handbag. They fired once in the air and Rekha opened her door and stepped outside. That is when one of them shot her in the abdomen as she pleaded with them," the passenger narrated.

Rekha, the founder and director of Plysales Ltd on Enterprise Road, was rushed to Mater Hospital where she was admitted but died of excessive bleeding.

Ironically, Rekha, described as a philanthropic businesswoman who pressured the government to begin works on making Enterprise Road a dual carriage from Kenya Wines Agencies premises to the Likoni road/Enterprise road roundabout, had been talking to the Industrial Area Division Traffic Officer.

Rekha's body was cremated at the Hindu Shamshan crematorium according to the Hindu tradition. The convoy of vehicles escorting her body to the family's Pine Wood Grove estate residence off General Mathenge Drive comprised her family, relatives and friends.

Rekha, who regularly distributed bottled water to thirsty traffic police and umbrellas during rain seasons, becomes one of the many victims of armed robbers riding on motorcycles that has become a common occurrence in the city in the recent days.

PlySales Ltd has now adjusted its closing hours from 5pm to 4:15 pm due to fears that the motorbike gunmen are taking advantage of the traffic snarl-up to attack their victims.

Businesspeople within Industrial Area are now demanding that police increase their presence and restrict the movement of pillion riding during peak hours to reduce the increasing cases of boda boda robbers.

Police say they are looking for the criminals who are also suspected to have committed crimes in Hurlingham, Lavington, Kileleshwa and Upper Hill.

Five days later on August 21, 2013 at about 9pm at the parking lot of Maary's Club on Wangapala Road within Highridge area in Parklands, Unep senior programmes management officer Christopher John Taylor was shot in the hand by a gunman after he defied an order to return to his vehicle.

The 58-year-old British national Taylor, who was in the company of a friend, had just alighted from a Toyota Land Cruiser registration number UNEP 227K and they were walking to the club when they were confronted by two gunmen who ordered them to get back into their vehicle.

Taylor was shot in the left hand after he defied the gunmen's order. The two gunmen then jumped onto a motorcycle and sped off without stealing anything from the couple.

Taylor was rushed to Aga Khan Hospital where he was admitted.

Last Wednesday at about 5pm, two gunmen on a motorcycle intercepted a businessman's vehicle at the Lusaka Road -Baricho road junction and robbed him of Sh5.2 million before jumping onto their getaway motorcycle and escaping with the money as shocked motorists watched helplessly.

Interestingly, the daring robbers went about their business a short distance from where unarmed traffic police officers were on duty.

However, attacks on pedestrians, motorists and business premises by armed gunmen has been on the increase in the city especially in Kayole, Umoja, Dandora, Huruma, Kawangware, the Central Busines District, Industrial Area, Mlolongo, Ongata Rongai, Ngong among others.

Another female motorist was robbed in broad daylight at the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication flyover on Mombasa Road as other scared motorists watched helplessly.Three people riding on a motorcycle weaved through vehicles held in traffic before two of them alighted. One went to the front of the female motorist's car while the other one pretended to pick up something.

One of the men with a pistol hit and broke the window on the passengers side before they grabbed the motorist's handbag and casually walked back to the motorcycle on which they escaped.

On the afternoon of Wednesday August 28, 2013, a businessman was driving on Baricho Road when he was intercepted by two gunmen on a motorcycle at the Lusaka Road/Baricho Road junction and robbed of money by the robbers who then sped off on their motorbike.

Although police arrived at the scene, no arrests have been made so far.

In another incident, gunmen riding motorcycles robbed five people including foreigners last weekend. The robbers attacked a Swedish couple as they walked on Mzima Springs Road in Riverside and robbed them of a handbag containing their passports and other valuables. They shot at but did not injure the couple who reported the incident at Kileleshwa Police Station.

Moments later, the armed duo attacked another man on Nyeri Road in Kileleshwa and robbed him. A Riverside estate resident walking on Mzima Springs Road towards Riverside Drive was also attacked by the two robbers on a motorcycle.

The robbers drew a gun and threatened him demanding his wallet and mobile phone.Senior police officers in Nairobi led by the Nairobi County Commander Benson Kibue on Tuesday held a meeting to discuss the increase in violent crime incidents especially carjackings and motorcycle robbers.

Kibue met all senior police officers in Nairobi and issued orders for a crackdown on violent criminals.

Violent crime on the rise in Nairobi

Detectives from elite police units have been deployed to track down criminals implicated in several violent crimes around the city in the last two months.

The officers have a brief to track down and arrest the armed robbers implicated in theft of two guns and more than 300 rounds of ammunition from a Lavington residence, a gang which raped a mother and daughter in Ruai and robbing an International School of Kenya teacher.

The robbers, who posed as painters, stormed into John Anthony Mungai's residence on Lavington's Ndoto Road and held the house employees hostage before carrying away a safe containing two Glock pistols and 322 rounds of 9mm ammunition.

The robbers drove into the compound by lying to the employees that they had come to make repairs in the house but drew a pistol and then locked the workers in a room and dismantled the CCTV cameras.The gang carried away a safe containing the two pistols and 322 rounds of ammunition, a television set and a mobile phone.

The owner of the house was away in France when the incident happened.In Buru Buru, police are yet to arrest three youthful robbers who waylaid a businessman and robbed him of Sh2 million in a daylight robbery within the city's Outer Ring Road.

Aggrawal Hilal was in his silver Volkswagen being chauffeured by his driver Patrick Mwaniki at about 4pm when the three men armed with pistols jumped onto the road and fired in the air prompting the driver to stop.

One of the thugs then broke the vehicles windows on the driver' side and grabbed a paperbag containing Sh2 million from Hilal before jumping into a waiting white Toyota NZE in which they escaped.Police have not arrested any suspects involved in a robbery in Ruai a week ago.

The gang armed with pangas and clubs broke into Caroline Ndege's house in Ruai Chokaa area and demanded money from her.Although she gave them Sh3,000, the robbers beat up her husband and snatched their five mobile phones.

The family was rescued by a neighbour who took them to hospital and reported the matter to the police.In another incident, a burgler broke into rooms within Bonsai Guest House, and stole from the rooms before escaping.

The burglar stole a Thinkpad laptop, $3,000 (Sh261,000) belonging to the Chinese national Yuxai Xiong and an Acer laptop, two pairs of shoes and a Samsung tablet of the UN employee Kore Antone.

In another attack, armed robbers stormed into International Schools of Kenya teacher Harsan Chandaria's house on Suswa Road within Parklands and robbed her of four laptops, a mobile phone, an iPad, a Nikon Camera, Sh5,000, $3,000, 1,000 Euros (Sh117,000) and jewellery before escaping.

The three robbers entered the house posing as police officers and told the housegirl that they would wait for the teacher who had not arrived home yet.When she arrived, the robbers held her, her teenage daughter and the house girl hostage for over three hours as they ransacked the house for valuables.

Yet another gang of four armed with an AK 47 rifle and a pistol stormed into a shopping mall within Nairobi West at about 10pm and robbed Maureen Nduku her money. The robbers also shot Elijah Ondiek in the neck before going to Norack Pub where they shot Anthony Masheti in the neck and Lucy Nyambura in the shoulder.

The robbers then jumped into a getaway vehicle and escaped towards South B.

Last Thursday night, an armed gang raided a Kericho business family's home and murdered an elderly couple and injured their neighbour Amarjit Sagoo who had responded to a distress call. He was admitted to Aga Khan Hospital Kisumu in a serious condition

The gang seems to have come to execute the family of 10 but police arrived on time to save the rest.A couple of years ago, the same family was robbed by a gang but police arrived on time and killed two of the gangsters.

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