Jackson Maruche alias Rogers

Suspected Confirm gang leader Jackson Maruche alias Rogers (centre) after he was arrested in Nakuru on December 29, 2022.

| Eric Matara | Nation Media Group

Sex, partying, crime and murder: An insider account of Confirm gang

At the tender age of 13, in 2017, Fred (not his real name) moved out of his mother’s house in Bondeni estate, in Nakuru City and joined a group of ten other teenagers in the neighbour ring Kwa Rhonda estate.

Fred then a class eight pupil joined an outlawed criminal gang dubbed ‘Confirm Group’.

Months later the teen quickly learned tricks of the underworld and conned someone Sh100,000.

Together with his peers in crime, they used the money to rent a two-bedroom house in Kwa Rhonda estate.

A few months later, he quit school, even before he could sit for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and fully signed up to a life of crime.

“I was introduced to the gang by my peers at school who always had money, at a time my mother was struggling to pay rent and afford a meal,” says Fred, now a reformed criminal.

The teenager is among dozens of his peers, who were lured to the criminal underworld by the urge to live large.

In an exclusive interview with reformed Confirm gang members aged 24 and 28, the Nation established that the young people live by the gun to complement their heavy appetite for life on the fast lane. A life that revolves around booze, partying and sex.

They steal, rob at gunpoint, and even kill, over the slightest provocation in their pursuit of money to maintain a larger-than-life image, yet some of them are hardly out of school.

“I was born and raised in Bondeni slums, adapting to that lifestyle was not hard. I joined the criminal gang when it was starting. We used to get money as no one knew about Confirm gang then. I was very happy we could make so much money in an easy way. In a day we could go home with around Sh50,000 to Sh100,000. The leaders of the gang never mind if you are young as long as you bring in money,“ recalls Jemmo, another reformed gang member.

Aged 28, Jemmo, not his real name, has ‘seen it all’ and has been arrested several times but all the time, he was bailed out by his colleagues.

He revealed that the gang has been swindling unsuspecting people of their mobile money and fraudulently accessing bank accounts.

“Over time we became hardcore criminals. From the use of swords and other crude weapons we graduated to guns and other sophisticated weapons,” he adds.

However, Jemmo decided to quit the world of crime after numerous arrests.

Another reformed criminal Kevin, not his real name, revealed that the greed for quick and easy money, saw him join the gang.

“At only 16 years old, I was driven by the greed of getting quick money and the urge to live a lavish lifestyle. I was recruited to join the outlawed Confirm gang after l dropped out of school in Form Two,” Kevin told the Nation.

As a new recruit, he says that he would mug unsuspecting victims robbing them of their phones, identity cards and other valuables items before finally graduating to being a Confirm after being in the group for one month.

He said that he was taught how to ‘confirm’ and with no time Kevin mastered the skill.

Armed with a mobile phone, he started on his own, and to his surprise within the first week he managed to get Sh100,000 giving him morale to continue with his dirty game of conning people.


He revealed that before his parents knew that he had dropped out of school, he could wake up as usual as if going to go school but instead head to their usual ‘spot’ by 8am, saying that their leader was strict.

Within six months, Kevin was fully a member of the gang which derives its name from the famous text messages one gets when they receive cash on their mobile phones, “Confirmed you have received Sh …”

Kevin explains that the gang has been targeting mobile phone users and defrauding them via their M-PESA, Equitel and Airtel money accounts.

Recalling his first victim, a man, he said that the task was simple. He sent an edited M-pesa message and then purported that he had mistaken the number and requested the recipient to reverse the amount. He says he ‘earned’ Sh30,000 within three minutes.

With time Kevin mastered the art. His lifestyle changed and he even moved out of his parent’s home and rented an apartment in a flashier neighbourhood but could return to Bondeni daily as that's where he operated from.

He said that his parents gave up trying to reprimand him so he could help them foot bills, pay his siblings' school fees, and finance his expensive lifestyle.

“The problem with Confirm is that you will not do anything constructive with the money you get since you are guaranteed that you will easily get it the next day. I used mine for entertainment, drugs and taking care of women," he says. 

According to Kevin, members of Confirm gang mainly comprise unemployed youths living in informal settlements who are driven by the appetite for quick and easy money. They pitch tents in Bondeni slums and have their leaders referred to as ‘Mabosa’.

However, after some years, wrangles emerged within the Confirm gang resulting in the formation of splinter groups including Bashosho based in Flamingo, Wakamiti in Kivumbini, Watizedi who are based in Bondeni.

Some of Watizedi members split forming another group called Mauki and shifted to Kwa Rhonda and Posta areas in Nakuru West, which, according to Kevin, has been operational for the past two years and was headed by Sande and Kennito who were killed last month.

He revealed that the common cause of wrangles within the groups is disagreements when sharing the loot. The other reason is when they suspect that some members are setting them up for arrest.

“When a leader instructs you to go and stab someone, you must do that. Their roles are to credit ‘Onyangos’ phones which are used to send and call people for errands. It gets messy during revenge attacks; residents are always caught up in the clash paying with their lives or getting injured,” he revealed.

‘Supportive’ parents

However, after being arrested thrice and constantly harassed by police officers, Otieno gave up on being a Watizedi gang member after being part of the gang for more than six years.

He recalls an incident where he stabbed another member of their gang after they fought over a phone forcing him to elope for six months leaving his family behind as the group was baying for his blood.

The now 28-year-old- reformed Confirm member and a father of one, says that his life took a different turn when he joined a group which brings together former gang members.

For Njenga* another youth from Bondeni, he was recruited to the group by his friends in 2019 after completing college but failing to secure employment.

The 24-year-old said that he was given the role of ‘Tutu’, tasked with withdrawing money received from the victims and transferred to his phone.

Later, Njenga also graduated into an ‘Onyango’ and was immersed fully into the life of crime and made a living through stealing from people wherever he did not ‘catch’ anything from confirming.

"When joining, I could be given small jobs like withdrawing money by the gang leaders and I would get paid. I continued hanging with them and I was finally recruited fully.We would go to Mpesa shops in town because those operating the shops in the estates knew us and what we did, so we avoided them” he explains.

According to Njenga, they were being facilitated by already registered lines which were costing Sh200 by Mpesa agent while the landlines with unique numbers are owned by leaders who are their bosses.

Njenga claims that they are working with Police officers who alert them when a raid is about to be conducted and they would run into safety to avoid being arrested.

However, in his three years’ life of crime, Njenga is quick to dispute that he ever stabbed anyone as he never had the courage to do, saying that the most he did was to snatch hand bags in town while riding a motorcycle.

Njenga, now a reformed gang member, says that his life reached a turning point from crime, he started looking for honest jobs as a casual labourer in construction sites where he would earn just enough to cater for his family

"I have been arrested several times, but there is no day I was produced in court. We could just talk and part with from Sh3, 000 to Sh5,000. Others will come in and bail me out and I will do the same next time if another member gets arrested," he said

He revealed that when a member of the gang is killed, they always force people to contribute towards burial arrangments and if one resists they will be robbed or stabbed. Then, during the burial, they would cause chaos during which they’d rob people.

Surprisingly, Otieno and Njenga concur that most of the parents of the young boys in the gangs are aware of their sons’ activities but cannot stop them since they receive a part of the loot from their children.

“Most of us come from poor backgrounds. So when you give your parents part of that money, it benefits them. Even if they know how you got that money, they cannot turn it away. For now, the group is fading away. Youths have resorted to robbery and phone snatching. they hire one motorbike which is paid Sh100,” he said.

Restoring sanity

What started as a joke or perhaps a serious concern but was ignored at family and society levels is now turning out to be a monster ready to swallow both the culprits and the innocent residents of Nakuru City.

In 2016 Confirm Group was among 89 criminal gangs that were outlawed by then-Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery.

Perhaps, the late CS had foreseen what would befall Nakuru in years to come and that is exactly what locals are experiencing.

Seven years since the group was outlawed, it has continued to carry on activities through various splinter groups.

This happens on the watch of security officers leaving residents with questions of what this clearly means for the newest City in the country as far as security is concerned.

The recent happenings where two gang members were killed in Nakuru West have led to unrest in Nakuru East owing to the rivalry on what the gang members term as ‘territory’.

The reformed youth told Nation.Africa, that the rivalry between WaTZ of Nakuru East and Mauki of Nakuru West is attributed to the territories, money and love affairs.

They believe that with huge money then the love story goes on well and dictates how many girls will be members of either group.

To them, it is all about living a lavish life by making money through all means, even if it means killing an innocent person.

“Whenever there is a fight between the two groups, just investigate and it will all go back to territory, money or girl child things,” says John*, another reformed gang member.

The irony is that the criminal groups have continued to carry out their criminal activities under the watch of security teams.

It poses the question as to why this is happening, or could there be a hand within the security team that is working with the groups?

Hellen* a Rhonda estate resident, says whatever the police are doing when it comes to dealing with the criminal groups, is only PR stunts.

She says whenever members of these groups are arrested for causing havoc, they are always bailed out with only a handful ever making it to court.

One of the reformed criminals revealed that it becomes hard for those arrested to be arraigned owing to what he terms as greed for money among some officers.

“Most cases never end up in court simply because the arresting officers ask for ‘tea’. The suspects will pay up to Sh30,000,” says Otieno.

This is even as Kwa Rhonda Police Station in Nakuru West has been on the spot for not containing the criminal activities in the area.

The move has seen Nakuru County Commissioner, Loyford Kibaara announce some changes at the station saw a new OCS posted, and some officers reshuffled, in a move aimed at addressing the upsurge in crimes that include daylight muggings and stabbings.

On his part, Nakuru West sub-county Police Commander Edwin Otieno Ogwari maintains that restoring sanity in Nakuru West is a collective responsibility.

“We shall continue to carry out operations to wipe out the criminal elements. We are partnering with our colleagues in other counties so that those who escape to neighbouring areas are brought to book. We appeal to society and the church to step in and help some of these young people through counseling that will in turn help address drug addiction,” he says.

A walk in most of the informal settlement areas where these gangs operate, or a mention of the gangs, sends a chill down the spine.

Locals live in fear and are always concerned whenever they see a stranger in the area, for they are not sure when the members of the gangs would strike.

It is said whenever any member of a gang dies, then it is a recipe for unrest in the area for some days as other gang members try to avenge the death of their colleague.

Residents interviewed by Nation.Africa said the group has mutated into a dangerous outfit, which enjoys the protection of local politicians and some ‘rogue police officers.’

They painted a picture of a dreaded gang out to terrorize residents.

At least eight criminal groups operate in Nakuru, some splinters from the parent Confirm gang.