When his son Luther Muthandi Kuria, 18, failed to return home on the evening of July 18, 2021, Charles Kuria Muthandi was not unduly worried.
Mr Muthandi, a children's welfare officer in Nakuru, thought his son had arrived safely at his grandmother Elizabeth Wanjiku's home in Kenlands estate in Nakuru city.
Unknown to him, criminals had attacked his son that night, tortured and hacked him to death.
In the morning, he tried to find out if Luther had arrived safely at his grandmother's house.
To his shock, he was told Luther had not arrived.
He was missing.
Worried and fearing for the life of his son, Mr Muthandi started searching for him.
The search led him to the Nakuru city mortuary.
True to his fears, the body of his firstborn son, a Form Three student at Loreto High School, was lying cold at the mortuary.
"I was shocked when I viewed his body. It had deep cuts on the head. His body was still soaked in blood. The killers had tortured him before they took his life," Mr Muthandi told the Nation.
"My son died in a lot of pain; at the hands of the criminals. He died at a tender age, when he was on top of his dreams. His killers tortured him and stole his shoes and the phone I had given him as a present on his birthday, 10 days before he met his death."
In a desperate search for answers, Mr Muthandi asked mortuary attendants how the body of his son ended up there.
“They told me that Luther's mutilated body had been found by police officers at a sewerage line in Flamingo estate and they took it to the mortuary," Mr Muthandi recounted. He says it baffles him that nearly 10 months later, no one has been arrested in connection with the murder of his son.
A police officer, who sought anonymity, revealed to the Nation that the murder was committed by members of the notorious criminal gang known as Confirm that has been terrorising residents of Nakuru city.
"I was on patrol within Nakuru when we got information that the teenager's body had been found at a sewerage line in Flamingo Estate. The body had deep cuts on the neck and other parts of the body. Investigations later indicated that the boy had been murdered by members of the Confirm gang," the officer said.
An autopsy revealed that the boy died from excessive bleeding. Parts of his body also had deep panga cuts.
"Police have been dragging their feet in their investigations into the killing of my son. All I need is justice for my son. His killers are roaming freely in Nakuru. I have tried to follow up on the matter but to no avail," Mr Muthandi said.
Investigations by the Nation indicate that before his murder, in May 2021, Luther had been involved in an altercation with a group of four men, who stole his phone.
The four were arrested and charged with theft but they were later released.
At the Rift Valley Directorate of Criminal Investigations offices in Nakuru, detectives say investigations into the incident are still underway.
"We have been following crucial leads into the brutal murder. We will soon arrest and prosecute those behind the murder of the teenager," a senior detective said.
Luther's murder is not an isolated incident. The gang has killed and maimed many people in Nakuru.
Residents of Bondeni, Manyani, Kivumbini, Kwa Rhonda and neighbouring areas said in interviews with the Nation that they have lost count of the number of young people killed by the gang.
Members of the criminal gang continue unleashing terror against residents despite police crackdowns.
Several residents said the gangsters are armed with crude weapons and sometimes guns.
"Several people have been attacked and left nursing serious injuries by the gangs, which also make away with their property. Nobody is spared, including police officers. They sometimes even attack police officers," said John Ondimu, a resident of Flamingo Estate.
Residents also say the gangs commit crimes in broad daylight and at night.
Despite regular swoops and arrests, gang members continue committing crimes.
Scores of gang members have also been killed since last year in attacks and counter-attacks between the splinter group that form the Confirm gang.
Residents say the dreaded gang enjoys the protection of some local politicians.
The gang is made up of idle, unemployed youth from the slums. Members carry crude weapons like pangas, metal rods, swords and sometimes guns, according to police sources.
More than five people have been killed since last year in clashes between rival groups of the gang.
The gang has tentacles spread in various slums, including Kivumbini, Lake View, Kwa Rhonda, Kaptembwa, Flamingo, Kaloleni and Bondeni. It operates with impunity, terrorising residents in Nakuru and its environs.
The gang, listed in December 2016 by the late Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery as one of more than 90 outlawed gangs operating in Kenya, swindles residents by obtaining money fraudulently through mobile money transfer services.
Its members are also responsible for robberies, muggings and attacks on residents, especially in the informal settlements.
In the streets of Nakuru, the criminals sometimes snatch handbags and phones from visitors in broad daylight.
They also waylay their victims, rob them of their valuables before disappearing into their hideouts.
They are aged between 13 and 26 and residents describe them as ‘young and dangerous’.
They have no second thought about hacking or shooting a person they think stands in their way of getting what they want.
Sometimes they act under the influence of strong hallucinatory drugs.
They remain a headache for security officers.
So daring are the gang leaders that they even recruit school children.
Security officers in Nakuru have been grappling with at least five gangs, including Confirm. The others are Gaza, Dragon and new ones like Eastlando and Msafi Kwanza.
Gaza and others, according to residents, have been terrorising residents of Pipeline, parts of Lanet and even Nakuru city.
Members of Confirm are also said to have a network of fraudsters on the loose who use mobile money technology to swindle Kenyans out of their hard-earned cash in Nakuru and other towns.
When darkness sets in, some of the informal settlements are no-go zones. But gang members also operate during the day and have devised ways of escaping police dragnets.
But at the weekend, Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Maalim Mohammed said that a special police squad has been formed to tame the re-emergence of criminal gangs, including Confirm.
"We have kicked off a major operation to weed out all criminals in organised gangs in Nakuru and other areas of the Rift Valley. In Nakuru city, a multi-agency squad called anti-Confirm has been formed to deal with the notorious Confirm gang that has been terrorising residents,” he said.
“We will not tolerate the resurgence of any criminal gang. Those involved will face the full force of the law. We will deal with criminal elements ruthlessly. I urge residents to be candid and report any criminals, to help police arrest them.”
He added: “In Nakuru city, we have been able to dismantle and destroy their cells. In the past two months, we have arrested members of the Confirm gang and the operation will continue until they are all wiped out.”
A senior detective told the Nation that the squad will be responsible for tracking down the criminal gangs and destroying their cells.
"The special unit has already been assigned to carry out operations in places where the gangs are believed to operate. The newly formed unit is made of general duty police officers and those from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations,” the detective said.