Six suspected robbers gunned down after months of manhunt
A cat-and-mouse chase between police officers and heavily armed gangsters that began sometimes in March ended tragically on Monday afternoon after six suspected members of the criminal group were shot dead in Nakuru.
The six slain men, always armed to the teeth, are believed to have been part of a larger gang that police believe has been terrorising M-Pesa outlet in Nairobi, Thika, Ngong, Ruiru and Nakuru over the past nine months, leaving a trail of destruction and fatalities.
In March, three of the gang’s members are said to have raided an M-Pesa shop in Nairobi’s Umoja area.
A week later, they raided another outlet in Ruiru. Using forensic ballistics, detectives believe the same gang has been responsible for violent robberies in Ngong where a prominent businessman was killed.
They have also terrorised the business community in Thika, Kiambu, Machakos and Athi River.
Since then, detectives from the Crime Research and Intelligence Bureau at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations have been on the trail of the gangsters as they unknowingly carried out their routine criminal activities.
On Sunday, four members of the group based in Nairobi’s Kayole estate are said to have travelled to Nakuru, where they were to link up with some of their colleagues domiciled there for a major operation they believed would have instantly made them millionaires.
Come Monday morning, the four after linking up with two of their counterparts in Nakuru, met at a popular joint in the outskirts of the town on the way towards Baringo for a final strategy meeting before the execution of their mission.
But unbeknown to them, detectives from the Special Service Unit (SSU) had already caught up with them and it was only a matter of time before they could strike.
The robbers, who had now been joined by two others from within Nakuru, were targeting a popular petrol station, an entertainment joint, a bank and supermarket, all located within an enclosed area.
And as they embarked on the execution of the mission, hell broke loose. Six of them were shot dead by the elite members of SSU, who had travelled from Nairobi to accomplish the mission.
Two others managed to escape with gunshot wounds, as police launched a manhunt.
Nakuru County Criminal Investigations Officer (CCIO) Anthony Sunguti said the group had planned to conduct a robbery within one of the local social places.
“We acted on intelligence that there had been a planned robbery at an entertainment joint and we trailed the suspects who were in a Toyota Probox,” he said.
Sunguti added that the gang members started shooting aimlessly when the officers challenged them to surrender, leading to a fierce exchange of fire.
“A high-speed chase ensued until they were cornered at the Nyahururu interchange along the Nakuru-Nairobi Highway. They shot at the police before their vehicle plunged into a ditch,” he said.
He said the police managed to recover assortment of firearms including a homemade gun, police walkie talkie, pair of hand cuffs and several rounds of ammunition.
Sunguti said the suspects are part of an organised criminal gang that has been carrying out illegal operations in broad daylight.
“We recovered a Beretta and Tokarev pistols, and Revolver loaded with five rounds of 0.38mm calibre ammunition, three homemade pistols, 10 rounds of 9mm calibre bullets, a police walkie talkie and a pair of handcuffs.
Bodies have been removed to Nakuru municipal mortuary,” said Sunguti. “The identity of the suspects is yet to be established.
The suspects are part of an organised criminal gang, which has been on our radar for some time.”