Who is killing women in Mawanga, Nakuru?

Ms Grace wanjiru,21, who was killed on June 15

Photo credit: Courtesy

They knock on the doors of homes disguised as employees of water or electricity companies before they attack and even kill their prey – mostly women in their late 20s or 30s.

Fresh details uncovered by Nation.Africa have revealed how the assailants have been waylaying their victims in Mawanga, Bahati sub-county.

The assailants pretend to want to read water or electricity meters or correct faults before they pounce on their targets.

Way before they do so, we have learnt, the attackers identify their targets, study their routines and get their personal information.

"Before you know it or even suspect, they have gained entry into the compound where they steal, kill, rape or maim before they disappear. We have been living in fear of being attacked any time," said Ms Mary Wangari, a resident of Mawanga.

Diana Opicho, who was murdered in her house in Nakuru

Photo credit: Courtesy

Residents who survived the attacks say the assailants are usually young men.

The pattern of attacks portrays a picture of a well-organised, ruthless criminal gang out to unleash terror, kill and probably instill fear.

Over the past two weeks, at least three women have been killed in Mawanga in a similar manner – raped, killed and their bodies set on fire.

Nakuru County Commissioner Erastus Mbui said at least six murders have been reported in the area in the past six months.

"Security agents are still conducting investigations over the incidents. We are casting our net wide and I assure residents that calm will be restored and the perpetrators brought to book," Mr Mbui said.

Erustus Mbui, the Nakuru county commissioner speaks to the residents of Mawanga estate in Nakuru, on 26th June 2022, over the rising cases of insecurity 

Photo credit: Richard Maosi | Nation Media Group

In the first incident, Ms Grace Wambui, 21, was found murdered on June 15 at her home. Just a week later, another woman identified as Ms Susan Wambui was murdered and her body found in her bedroom.

Ms Wambui, who operated an M-Pesa shop in Nomongo in the All Nations area of Mawanga, was found murdered under unclear circumstances in her house.

Neighbours were alerted by billowing smoke from her house and when they entered they discovered her body. The house had locked from inside

Mr Evans Kagwema, a relative of the woman, told the Nation yesterday that a customer who had come to the shop was drawn by screams from Ms Wambui’s child, who was inside the house.

Ms Susan Wambui, 36, who was killed on June 22, 2022

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Ms Wambui’s body was found in her bedroom lying on the bed in a pool of blood.

Police and residents believe the 36-year-old woman was murdered as her three-year-old son watched.

A postmortem revealed that she was strangled with a rope. The report also showed that she had been raped, and that she suffered one percent burns.

As burial arrangements were going on at Ms Wambui’s home, neighbours were attracted by screams from the neighborhood that another woman had been killed in the same area.

Jotham Opicho a bishop at the All Nations Church Mawanga estate Nakuru. His daughter Diana Opicho was killed by unknown persons

Photo credit: Richard Maosi | Nation Media Group

The lifeless body of Ms Diana Opicho was found in her bedroom by a family member who was visiting. The relative told police that when she arrived at Ms Opicho’s house, she saw two young men escaping over the fence as soon as she opened the gate.

Ms Opicho 25, a daughter of Bishop Jotham Opicho of the All Nations Church, was found murdered on Friday at 2pm in the same manner Ms Wambui was killed.

Her body had been doused in petrol and covered with a mattress and there was a heap of clothes around her, suggesting that the attackers wanted to set it ablaze.

Her relative, Justus Juma, said the suspects did not steal anything but fled, leaving electronics and valuables they had already placed on the verandah.

Joshua Mahulel brother to Diana Opicho who was killed by unknown persons in Mawanga estate Nakuru county

Photo credit: Richard Maosi | Nation Media Group

"There were no signs of forced entry. She must have let them in willingly before they killed her, and that is why we suspect that they had disguised [themselves] as water company employees" said Mr Juma.

The mysterious deaths, which have caught the eye of Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i, have sparked outrage among residents.

During a security meeting held at Mawanga and attended by top security chiefs and local leaders including Governor Lee Kinyanjui and Senator Susan Kihika, residents accused police officers of laxity and pointed an accusing finger at politicians for funding criminal gangs.

Residents still live in fear as none of the criminals has been arrested.

"Security officers should work to eradicate the notorious gangs before more women lose their lives to the brutal killers," said resident Mercy Nyambura.

Peter Kariuki beside the grave of her daughter  Grace Wanjiru, at Mawanga estate in Nakuru county 

Photo credit: Richard Maosi | Nation Media Group

And as the security operation sanctioned by Dr Matiang'i gets underway, residents have accused police of harassing innocent people and accusing them of being criminals.

"We are being harassed by police officers accusing us of being members of the notorious Confirm gang. Let them investigate and arrest the real criminals," said Mr Mathew Kariuki, a bodaboda operator based in Mawanga.

"They have also linked the criminal activities to the Confirm gang that operates mainly in informal settlements in Nakuru city. They should investigate and establish if there is another gang involved."

Local leaders who were present demanded that a police station be established in the area.

"I want to urge residents to be alert and inform security teams of any happening and suspicious characters around this area. I know the criminals are here or have sent their representatives to this meeting, but we will come for you,” said Governor Kinyanjui.

Kuria Muthandi a resident of Mawanga estate in Nakuru showing a portrait of his son who killed a gang in Nakuru

Photo credit: Richard Maosi | Nation Media Group

“We are putting you on notice as you cannot continue to terrorise residents. If you are the one causing our community this misery, the law will catch up with you regardless of whether you are a Kenyan or not.”

He called on locals to elect a team of people who will act as a bridge between locals and officials, saying the youths should be incorporated into Nyumba Kumi groups.

Senator Kihika called on security agents to act swiftly and arrest the perpetrators to ensure that no more lives are lost.

“The area member of Parliament has built a police station. Officers should be deployed in the area to enhance patrols during the day and at night. We do not want any more deaths in Nakuru," she said.

By Monday, at least 30 suspects had been arrested in the ongoing crackdown on the Confirm gang and other criminal groups in Nakuru.

The police on Tuesday morning also questioned Nakuru East MP David Gikaria over his alleged links to the dreaded gang.