At exactly 3:16am on Wednesday this week, undercover police officers in Kayole, Nairobi received a message from one of their colleagues through their WhatsApp group.
Four suspects who had escaped from them along Manyanja Road earlier in the night, at 11pm, were at the Lower Chokaa Area, he told them.
The officer had been called by an early riser operating a grocery in the area, who informed him that a group of four people, including a woman, were robbing people at Chokaa.
Some of the officers did not read the message, and so he called the members of his company, one by one.
They then called their driver to pick them and alerted their uniformed colleagues, who were on night patrol and asked them for reinforcement.
The description of the gang was familiar- four men and a woman, wearing the clothes they had a few hours earlier at Manyanja Road.
The gang was highly elusive and the police officers had to plan on how to ambush them, even though they did not get enough information about the mode of transport they were using.
When police arrived, the four tried to escape. Police officers shot in the air asking them to surrender, but two of them who had pistols started shooting at the officers.
A man and a woman who was shooting at the police officers, were shot dead while a pair escaped on foot with one of them having a pistol.
When all went silent, the two suspects were on the ground. The woman still had a Beretta pistol with a remainder of six round of ammunition.
INVISIBLE SERIAL NUMBER
The pistol had an invisible serial number as a result of being tampered with. The police also found seven spent cartridges.
Kayole OCPD, Joseph Gichangi said the two suspects’ bodies were taken to the City Mortuary, awaiting postmortem, scheduled to be done on Friday.
“According to the information we have, the woman who was fatally injured was the wife of a well-known suspect who is at large,” Mr Gichangi said, adding that the police were still looking for the other two suspects who escaped during the shootout.
“We will definitely arrest them when we find them from their hideouts,” Mr Gichangi said, admitting that cases of women being recruited to join dangerous criminal gangs were increasing.
After the shooting of the two gang members, a mysterious social media user, claiming to be a plain clothe police officer and going by the names Hessy wa Kayole, Hessy wa Dandora and Hessy wa Huruma took it to Facebook to identify the woman as Clare Mwaniki, the wife of a ‘notorious robber famously known as Mwanii’.
“Hayawi hayawi huwa Clea Adi Vybz mnakumbuka nkikimpea warning awache wizi na bwanake mwanii???? (Cleah Adi Vybz you remember I warned her to stop robbing with her husband Mwanii?). Rot in hell stupid woman,” Hessy wa Kayole said.
He went ahead to say that he had warned Clare that she should stop carrying the gun for her husband and asked her to stay away from crime.
He was referring to a post he made in a Facebook page called ‘Dandora Love People’ in March this year, whereby he warned the woman, and others that the law would catch up with them.
“Sabrina Hassan, Mungu alikuokoa (Sabrina Hassan, God saved you,” he said in the post posted on Facebook pages, ‘Kayole Crime Free’ and ‘Dandora Crime Free’ as he warned another female suspect.
Hessy has over the recent past, been posting pictures of suspects on the social media pages, and warning them that they would be killed if they continued conducting armed robberies. He named Clare and Mwanii as members of Kayole’s dreaded gang – Gaza.
And even though he has received a lot of support from followers in the group, he is the subject of discussion in some of the social media pages run by the suspected gangsters.
PICTURES OF POLICE OFFICERS
Here, pictures of plain clothe police officers stationed in different parts of Nairobi are posted, even posing more risk to the officers.
It is not clear whether the groups are run by the same man and whether the three accounts going by the names Hessy wa Dandora, Hessy wa Kayole, Hessy wa Eastlando and Hessy wa Huruma are run by the same person.
Also, the speculations are that they are run by a police officer or officers from different parts of Nairobi.
Clare’s social media, reveals a vibrant young woman, probably in her early or mid-20s with multiple piercings and a silver tooth. She describes herself as a lover of life and says she studied at the University of Nairobi.
Police say they have several women in their watch list, who are suspected to be engaged in criminal activities within Nairobi.
Nairobi County Police Commander, Japhet Koome said most of the notorious criminal gangs in Nairobi have female members.
These gangs include Gaza Boys of Kayole, Superpower Gang (Eastleigh), Brothers (City Centre), Usiku Sacco (Umoja), Msako Empire (Huruma), Jeshi la Embaa (Embakasi), Munyipi (Mathare), Kosovo Boys (Kosovo Area), among others.
“They are used for ferrying guns, gathering information and some who are brave even go for robberies,” Mr Koome said, adding that the women are also helpful for food deliveries when the male suspects are in hideouts.
He said the involvement of females in crime was posing a challenge to the security, as police officers are not allowed to search women’s handbags.