• Thursday, 01 December 2022
Hunger for blood: Inside Nairobi's fearless killer squad

Hunger for blood: Inside Nairobi's fearless killer squad

For years, Nairobi has been rocked by an increase in unsolved murders, leaving families in pain after their loved ones' bodies were discovered and dumped in horrific circumstances. The script has been eerily similar: relatives claim the victims received a phone call, left, and vanished.

Their bodies are discovered in thickets or rivers a few days or weeks later. Then, after the burials, the often elusive quest for justice begins.

On Friday, September 23, this year, Kenyans saw for the first time what these abductees go through, in the form of videos, CCTV footage, and images detailing how gunmen "abducted" a man at 3 a.m., then took a woman at 11 a.m. and dumped her in another part of Nairobi.

The gunmen then tracked down and killed Kevin Otieno, 23, a few meters from his house in Utawala, Embakasi East Constituency, by pumping 36 bullets into his body on the same day and in broad daylight.

We have pieced together a series of incidents involving 10 victims of the mysterious killers' brutal operations. Only two of the ten survivors survived. Mr. Alfred Odhiambo, Otieno's brother, is among them.

One of the two survivors is the former. The Kasarani four—Frank Obegi, Fred Obare, Moses Nyachae, and Elijah Omeka—all died, as did suspected drug dealer Joseph Ng'endo Njau (dead) and Evelyn Nduku (survived).

Others killed include David Ochieng Odera (dead) and an unidentified friend.

Two men were shot dead along Mirema Drive in Kasarani Sub-county on the night of the last Thursday in September. One of them was later identified as David Ochieng Odera, 34, while the other had yet to be identified. According to investigations, a Toyota Belta with two men aboard pulled up near Jifiche Bar around 10.30 p.m. One of the men exited and walked to a nearby butchery, leaving his colleague on the phone.

A Toyota Probox arrived a few minutes later from the Lumumba Drive direction. The driver, a woman, and two men were aboard.

The two men got out and confronted the man who was making a phone call in the other car, demanding a'mzigo' (parcel) and insisting that he couldn't "eat it alone." A heated argument ensued, drawing the attention of partygoers milling around nearby clubs.

Odera rushed back from the butchery and grabbed a gun, determined to protect his friend from his two assailants. They were, however, quicker on the draw and killed Odera.

Odera's friend was then handcuffed and shot, despite his cries for mercy. The two men then fled the scene before police arrived and removed the bodies. The occupants of the Probox, according to a police source this week, were part of the group that killed Otieno and abducted his brother, Mr. Alfred Odhiambo, who was picked up from his house at 3 a.m. on Friday, September 23, by armed people wearing balaclavas.

They walked in and picked up Mr. Odhiambo, demanding to be handed a firearm that they apparently thought he had.

He was then handcuffed, assaulted, and blindfolded before being loaded into one of their two vehicles, a white Land Cruiser, and a grey double-cabin Toyota pickup.

Mr. Odhiambo's family would not see him again until he was discovered abandoned in Thika town on Thursday, September 29, 2022.

"He was discovered, but he appears to be terrified." "He doesn't say much," a family member said. According to the source, Odhiambo was warned not to reveal what had happened.

Odhiambo was bundled into the bonnet of another vehicle, where he remained for hours as the vehicle moved around, according to the source.

"He can't remember where they took him, but they later locked him up in a room and fed him until he was released," a family member explained.

Mr. Odhiambo's wife, Maryanne Wangui, told the Nation before her husband was found that they were praying that he was alive.

"All my family wants is for my husband to be found safe and sound." "My request to those who have him is that they release him because he is a peaceful man who has always worked hard to ensure our family's well-being," Ms. Wangui had said.

Six hours after kidnapping Mr. Odhiambo from his home, the gunmen made their way to Mwiki's China Ndogo Plaza Apartment, where Ms. Evelyn Nduku, alias Bree, lived. According to neighbors, Ms. Nduku was Otieno's girlfriend. According to those who spoke to the Nation, Otieno, the man who was shot 36 times in Utawala, was a frequent visitor. When he came to visit, the two could be seen going for an evening stroll together.

"He used to come here, park his car, and walk to his house," a neighbor recalled. Ms. Nduku's close friend told this reporter that the two had not been on good terms for two weeks before she was picked up. According to the friend, on the day Ms. Nduku was apprehended and her boyfriend was killed, she posted a photo of Otieno on her WhatsApp status, along with the words, "God, why now?"

The gunmen didn't say anything to anyone. They went straight to the fifth floor to pick up Ms. Nduku. According to neighbors, some of the men stayed behind and ransacked the house until they were satisfied that whatever they were looking for was not there.

Ms. Nduku was reportedly blindfolded before being led out of the building.

A video obtained by The Nation shows her being bundled into a Land Cruiser by gunmen dressed similarly to those who had picked Mr. Odhiambo up from his house earlier in the day.

After abducting Ms. Nduku from her home, the gunmen went to Mihang'o in Utawala, where Otieno lived. Otieno was having lunch with a woman in Utawala at Naivas Supermarket. They quickly left.

On that day, Otieno, whom Boda Boda operators described as generous to a fault, did not board his preferred mode of transportation, a motorcycle. He chose to walk home instead.

Otieno received a call and excused himself exactly 50 meters from his house, while still in the company of the woman. He spoke for about 30 minutes, requesting that the person on the other end come to his house because he was unwilling to leave. Moments later, the two vehicles that had been seen at his brother's house at 3 a.m. and picked up his girlfriend at 11 a.m. sped towards where he was seated.

"The two vehicles were traveling at high speeds. A witness told the Nation, "We all heard someone shout: Ndio huyo mkora mshike (that's the thug, get him!)" Otieno attempted to flee, but it was too late.

The gunmen jumped out of their cars and shot him from behind. He was shot while holding on to a mason who was working nearby. Otieno collapsed to the ground, and the mason escaped unharmed.

"The gunmen quickly followed Otieno to where he lay and fired at him." "Everyone was stunned as the gunshots pierced the air," said another witness.

Some of the gunmen can be seen racing after the woman who was with Otieno in the video. They then kidnap her and order her to remain silent.

According to the source, they later forced her into the Land Cruiser. While this was going on, two of the gunmen stood a few meters away from Otieno and continued to fire bullets into his body. The gunmen then ordered two bystanders to hand over their cellphones before shooting several times in the air and fleeing.

According to a detective with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), Mr Otieno was a friend of Joseph Ng'endo Njau, a well-known drug peddler in the city.

They were close allies, though it's unclear why he was killed," said the officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media. Njau was discovered dead in June, along with three other Kasarani Four members: Obegi, Nyachae, and Omeka. According to police, the three received calls that led them to a central location before being apprehended and never seen alive again.

Four months after their bodies were discovered, police have yet to issue a definitive report on what occurred, and no one has been arrested in connection with the killings. According to reports, Njau was eyeing the Njiru MCA seat on a Jubilee Party ticket but had an active case in court.

Njau was arrested and found in possession of five kilos of heroin in 2019. He was apprehended in Nairobi's Westlands after returning from a trip to Kampala, Uganda.

According to police, he traveled to Kampala to obtain the drugs, which he concealed inside papayas.

The case was still being heard at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport's courts. Ms. Nduku was abandoned in Chokaa hours after she was picked up. The Nation has determined that she went directly to Machakos County. When contacted, Ms. Nduku refused to discuss her ordeal.

The white Land Cruiser was spotted at a petrol station in Njiru on the evening of Ms. Nduku's abduction, where its users were enjoying meals at a hotel, this time without arms, balaclavas, or gloves. They later left in the middle of the night for an unknown destination.

Kayole Sub-county police chief Paul Wambugu stated that the Friday incident was being investigated.

"Investigations are still ongoing to determine the motive and apprehend the perpetrators," he said.

This story has been adapted  from Nation