Nairobi Gang Targeting Mpesa Shops Arrested

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Detectives have arrested a suspected robber believed to be the mastermind of attacks targeting Mpesa shops in Nairobi.

John Mutiso Makau alias Katitu believed to be a returnee from the Alshabaab militia in Somalia, was arrested after a dramatic chase in Nairobi's Kayole estate, pitting detectives from the elite Crime Research and Intelligence Bureau, backed up by a contingent of officers from Kayole police division.

"In the 48-hour meticulously planned operation, detectives had before Katitu's arrest rounded up two of his accomplices, Brian Wambua Mbindyo and Danson Musyoka Mulee. But it is Katitu's dramatic arrest that left residents of Kayole's Matopeni area shocked as they quickly shut their businesses and retreated to their homes, following a commotion that stretched for three kilometers as detectives chased after the slippery thug," said the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

Trouble for the thugs started when the sleuths gathered sufficient actionable intelligence regarding their whereabouts following the gruesome killing of a man who was shot four times in broad daylight seconds after walking out of a bank in Donholm on October 31, 2022.

In the incident that attracted countrywide attention, the gun-toting thugs had pumped four bullets into Nicodemus Mbuvi Munyasya, who was walking out of Donholm's Family bank carrying a carrier bag, killing him on the spot.

The 38-year-old accounts clerk at extra paints manufacturing limited had deposited a cheque in the bank and was walking out carrying two disposable cups in a carrier bag.

Immediately he stepped out of the banking hall, two thugs on a motorbike accosted him, and a scuffle ensued as the thugs snatched the bag from Munyasia, assuming it contained a wad of cash.

When Munyasia resisted, he was shot four times, three times on his legs and once in his chest, by the fleeing thugs. Forensic Crime Scene detectives recovered one spent cartridge and one bullet head at the scene.

Three days before the incident, the suspects had accosted a woman as she left her Mpesa shop in the Umoja estate and shot her in the ankle before taking possession of her handbag, which contained an unspecified amount of money. Regina Chege was approaching the gate to her house when the thugs on a motorbike struck.

This incident was similar to one reported at Embakasi police station on October 19, where Dennis Musyoki and his wife, who operates an Mpesa outlet, were attacked at gunpoint as they walked home.

In another incident involving the armed miscreant gang, a retired managing director of Coast Development Authority had been accosted at the gate to his compound in April this year. James Kahindi was parking his vehicle at his home when two men opened the doors to his vehicle, a Toyota Hilux.

Kahindi, a licensed firearm holder, reached for his Ceska pistol and fired two shots in the air as the terrified thugs scampered for dear life. During the incident, the thugs shot at Kahindi's househelp, who was rushed to Nairobi Women's hospital in stable condition.

Preliminary findings from the Forensic Ballistic Unit based at the DCI National Forensic Laboratory established that the firearm used in all four incidents was similar.

The detectives also established that one of the main suspect's accomplices, Danson Musyoka had a past criminal record and had been involved in various bank heists before going under.

"When he realized he was on our radar, he retreated to his rural home in Matuu, where he put up a modest home. Musyoka had recently sneaked back to the city where he teamed up with Katitu and Mbindyo to terrorize city residents," added the DCI.

"Aware that our hawk-eyed detectives were on his trail, he changed tact from bank robberies to ferrying his accomplices to crime scenes. He moved around in a red motorcycle that would be spotted bearing registration numbers KMF 265Y and KMGF 588H. It was the thug's preferred getaway means."

In the well-organized criminal gang, Mbindyo was in-charge of surveillance, and his duties included going around Mpesa shops in city estates, gathering information on the shops transacting large amounts of cash before sharing his findings with his accomplices.

In a detailed confession, Mbindyo told detectives that he would also remain at the crime scenes and offer misleading eye-witness accounts to crime scene detectives and press members. He would only leave the scene after ensuring that he has tampered with every detail that would incriminate his accomplices.

In the ongoing investigations into the activities of the infamous gang, detectives recovered 18 rounds of 9mm calibre from Katitu's house in Fedha estate.

An operation to arrest the fourth accomplice, only identified as Willie or Ibrah, also a returnee from Somalia, is currently underway.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations has requested members of the public to volunteer information that may lead to the arrest of the suspect.

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