Chandaria attack rocks one of city’s most secured area

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020 00:00 |
Manu Chandaria and his wife, Aruna, arrive back in their Muthaiga home in Nairobi yesterday after a violent robbery incident at their residence. Photo/PD/Kenna Claude

A daring raid in one of the country’s most secure neighbourhoods has left security chiefs baffled.

Old Muthaiga in Nairobi is home to former President Kibaki, former Attorney General Charles Njonjo, former First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta, former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and scores of diplomats and wealthy Kenyans.

However, a 1am robbery attack at the residence of billionaire-industrialist Manu Chandaria’s well-secured residence in the neighbourhood has had detectives combing through the area in search of clues as to what could have happened.

The daring robbers yesterday breached the perimeter wall taking security guards hostage. They took their uniform, tied them up and proceeded with the robbery.

Fearing that the robbers could have been holding Dr Chandaria hostage, police headquarters directed a team from the elite GSU Recce Unit from Ruiru to rush to the scene and if need be, conduct a rescue operation.

The team arrived a few minutes to 2am and headed straight into the compound after being briefed and warned that some of their colleagues in civilian attire were already  in the compound. This was to ensure there was no case of friendly fire.

After the Recce officers declared the compound safe, the Nairobi regional police commander Rashid Yakub and other senior officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and Critical Infrastructure Police Unit were allowed into the compound.

After preliminary investigations, the Administration Police (AP) Constable and two G4S guards who were guarding the residence were arrested in connection with the robbery.

Chandaria, one of the country’s biggest philanthropists, reported that he heard a loud bang and he rang the security personnel at the gate but they did not respond.

A few minutes later, two men, one armed with a pistol and another with a metal cutter stormed his bedroom and demanded that he gives them Sh10 million.

“They ordered the businessman and his wife to give them money at gunpoint.

He showed them where the safe was and they broke it and stole Sh600,000 and some jewellery of unknown value,” a senior detective said.

Police officers were alerted and the first contingent to arrive at the scene forced the gate open using a police vehicle. They would later be joined by the Recce team.

It was not immediately established how the robbers accessed the highly-secured residence, and managed to disarm the AP officer who had a G3 rifle.

The robbers are said to have confronted the watchmen, identified as Judah Wafula and Stephen Omwenga, at around 1.15am and took their uniforms.

Specialised units

They then forced the two G4S guards to take them to where the officer, Constable Jared Omboga Makambe, was.

The officer claimed he was caught flat-footed by the gang that disarmed him before tying him up with a rope.

They disarmed him of his G3 rifle serial number G3404774 loaded with 20 rounds of ammunition.

The officer is detained at Muthaiga Police Station while the guards are at Pangani and Huruma police stations, respectively.

Officers drawn from different units, including other specialised units, were involved in the operation headed by Yakub.

Police said after conducting a search, the G3 rifle was later recovered within the expansive compound.

“Officers searched the compound and recovered the G3 rifle with 17 rounds of ammunition,” Yakub said.

The AP officer and the two guards were found in one room, all tied on both hands and legs.

The officer was found without his pair of trousers and the smoke jacket while the two guards had civilian clothes.

They claimed that they had been given the clothes by the robbers after they forced them to remove their uniform.

A senior DCI detective told People Daily that they were conducting a broad-based inquiry to establish whether it was a normal robbery as a result of negligence of the officers or whether it was a case of collusion.

This will involve ballistic analysis of the spent cartridges found in the compound, and call data analysis, among others.

Detectives will also seek to establish the truth about claims by the AP officer that his mobile phone got lost about a week ago and that he had not replaced it.

Sources also told People Daily that about a week ago, some dogs were poisoned in the area by unknown people.

But even as the investigation into the mysterious attack progressed, a number of questions remained unanswered.

It was not clear why the armed officer was deployed alone without any communication gadget and a mobile phone.

It was also not established who shot the three rounds from the officer’s G3 rifle and why they shot.

At around 1.40am gunshots rent the air, causing panic in the normally quiet neighbourhood.

The residents panicked, and made frantic calls to the police control room. At one point a senior officer directed the officers on the ground to shoot only if it was necessary.

An assessment did not reveal exactly the point of exit and entry into the compound, further pointing to the possibility of an inside job.

A detective privy to the investigations told People Daily that some officers from the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) are expected to help in the investigations.

Chandaria’s residence neighbours Karura Forest, which is guarded by KFS officers.

In the morning, a visibly shaken Chandaria and his wife left the residence to an unknown destination and drove back to the residence at 11.30am.

He did not talk to the media, and instead lowered the window and waved at journalists who had camped in the area. 

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