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Reaveled: How I stole Sh2 million

One of Nairobi’s most notorious armed robbers narrated to Nairobi News how in one raid alone he made off with Sh2 million.

But it nearly cost gang leader Isaac Wafula Otukai his life as police closed in and shot dead two of his accomplices.

The raid was on a store in Uthiru. Wafula and his team of thugs plotted the raid to the last detail but as they were leaving the store with their loot, police arrived at the scene and opened fire, instantly killing two of his partners in crime.

Back to mugging

Wafula fled with another gang member in their getaway car — but the shock of seeing his friends killed haunted him for weeks.

“The money did not last long, we spent it all on drugs and women, and by December I was back to mugging people,” he told Nairobi News in an exclusive interview.

But death stalked him like a shadow, as police bullets felled his colleagues in turns. With six of his friends killed, by 2010, he decided to turn his back on crime.

“Having been the only survivor, I felt God had a purpose for my life so I decided to walk away from crime,” he said.

Wafula had moved to Nairobi in 2007, but with only his primary school education and a BCE driving licence, his chances of getting a job were slim. By April 2008, he had committed his first mugging in Kibera.

His first step to escape the deadly cycle was to move from Kibera.

In late 2011, he met Eric Kariuki, and the two tried to tried to make an honest living by directing traffic  around Yaya Centre. Most motorists would leave them small tokens, which would assure them of at least a meal a day.

By 2012, two other men had joined them and their service did not escape the attention of the Kileleshwa police boss.

“One day the  Kileleshwa OCS came to us and commended us on the job we had been doing, but told us a road would be built and we would no longer be needed.

“He however floated the idea of starting a carwash at the bridge, where a stream passes,” he said.

Honest living

Wafula and his friends agreed to help in community policing in return for help in running their business. They then saved up Sh3,000, with which they bought the necessary materials to kick start the venture.

Eventually, the bypass came and the police boss asked the contractors to leave a small space at the bridge for Wafula and his colleagues.

Their business started slowly but soon caught on and today, the group has grown to seven members and they wash from between 20 and 30 cars a day. Their peak hours are from 6am to 11am, and 3pm to 6pm.

A saloon is washed for Sh100, and bigger vehicles Sh200.

“It’s is not a fortune, but at least it’s an honest living,” Wafula said.