Three men suspected to be members of a criminal gang that has been extorting money from PSV operators in Eastleigh, Nairobi, are facing charges of robbery with violence after allegedly robbing a PSV driver and matatu Sacco officials who refused to pay for their services in the area.
The three, Hassan Hussein, Abdirahim Mohammed and Khalid Abdi, are accused of robbing matatu driver Jackson Maina Mwangi of Sh6,400 along First Avenue in Eastleigh on November 7 while armed with clubs and other weapons.
They also face two other similar charges where they are accused of robbing Sacco official Benjamin Muriuki of Sh7,200 and Ali Suleiman of Sh3,000 and a mobile phone worth Sh10,000 during the alleged daylight robbery.
The three suspects are also accused of causing actual bodily harm to the complainants during the alleged robberies, which they committed together with others at large.
They also face an additional charge of causing a disturbance in a manner likely to cause a breach of the peace for allegedly chasing matatu drivers and attendants out of the PSV stages.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations said the gang had taken control of matatu stages in the area and was forcibly collecting money from drivers and Sacco officials to allow them to pick up and drop off passengers.
The three victims of the robbery were attacked in the said area after they refused to give money to the gang members.
Mr Mwangi intervened to rescue Mr Muriuki, who was being beaten and robbed of the money he had collected from drivers on behalf of the Saccos, and was also attacked, beaten and robbed.
Later accosted Mr Suleiman
The three suspected gangsters later accosted Mr Suleiman and allegedly robbed him. The injured victims sought treatment before reporting the matter to Eastleigh North Police Station.
Officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) office in Stahere started investigating the matter.
Two days later, the gang members returned to the area to harass matatu operators and passengers and the police were called and the three suspects were arrested.
DCI investigations revealed that PSV operators in the area had recently met to find a solution to the gang's extortion problem and agreed that each of the Saccos operating in the area would hire officers to be stationed at the stages to monitor their operations.
This angered members of the gang, who vowed to fight the unified operators and stepped up violence against them from November 4.
The three suspects denied the charges before Senior Principal Magistrate Hellen Okwani of the Makadara Law Courts, claiming that the matter stemmed from a dispute over the car park from which they also claimed to operate.
Detective Constable Benyamin Keter of the Starehe DCI's office filed an application against the bail conditions for the three suspects.
He said their accomplices, who escaped during the arrest, were members of an organised criminal gang extorting money from targeted businesses, including PSV operators in Eastleigh.
Ms Okwani remanded the suspects till February 26, 2024, when she will decide on bail and bond after receiving a probation officer's report on the three, which will inform her decision on the same.