How Kiambu became Kenya's murder capital

Lawrence Warunge Njoroge

Lawrence Warunge Njoroge (second right), who is linked to the killing of his four family members and a worker in Kiambu, leads detectives to a site at Jikaze IDP Camp in Maai Mahiu, Nakuru County, where murder weapons were retrieved on January 09, 2020.

Photo credit: Cheboite Kigen | Nation Media Group

If you have a missing relative, chances are you are likely to find them dead and dumped in Ruiru, Juja or even at General Kago Funeral Home in Thika, Kiambu, if not in the River Yala, which has now become synonymous with the dumping of dead bodies.

On March 8, Cyrus Mwangi, 30, had visited his sister Eunice Mwangi in Ruai in the company of his friend Francis Gitau.

Both men were boda boda riders operating between Njiru and Ruai, family members said.

On the day the duo disappeared, they were meeting Ms Mwangi to “discuss business opportunities”. They arrived at her home at around and left a few minutes before 4pm, she said.

One hour after they left Ruai, Ms Mwangi told the Nation, their phones were switched off. Ms Mwangi speculated that their killers must have been tracking their movements since that morning.

The following day, the bodies of Mr Mwangi and Mr Gitau were found dumped in Ruiru, near Tatu City, after a security guard raised questions about an abandoned car in the area.

He informed Tatu City security manager Stephen Muiruri, who called the police.

Deep cuts

The bodies were inside a white Toyota Probox (KCX 385D). Their bodies had bullet wounds. Families said they were tortured before being shot dead given the deep cuts both had in their necks.

Preliminary police investigations have revealed that the duo were killed somewhere else and dumped in Ruiru.

The vehicle that was used to ferry the bodies to the second scene of crime had been stolen from a parking yard in Embakasi. The owner had reported it missing to the Embakasi Police Station, said Ruiru Directorate of Criminal Investigations officer Justus Ombati.

Mr Mwangi, who hailed from Mathioya, Murang’a County, was buried on Saturday last week, and Mr Gitau was buried in Nyahururu, Nyandarua County.

Their families have disputed the police theory that the two were criminals hiding behind the boda boda business.

“How could they have been criminals yet their life had not changed. They were still struggling?” Ms Mwangi said.

“You can confirm this with Mwangi’s wife, the kind of life they were living with their two children and the husband. I have given up on pursuing justice because at the end, nothing will come out of it.’’

Monicah Gitau, a sister of Mr Gitau, said she had just buried her brother and was not ready to discuss the matter.

These two deaths are just examples of how Kiambu has become a capital for murder cases and the dumping of bodies.

Ms Wambui had dropped out of Form Two in Kianjogu Secondary School in Nakuru. She would later meet Simon Ngigi, a casual labourer in Ruiru, and the two relocated to Nairobi. When Ms Wambui died, she was working at a Ruiru restaurant.

Preliminary police investigations revealed that a love triangle had triggered the killing, with Ms Wambui allegedly going out with another woman’s husband.

No arrest has been made.

In January last year, Lawrence Warunge killed his father Nicholas Njoroge Warunge, his mother Ann Wanjiku, their adopted nephew Maxwell Njenga, his brother Christian Njenga Njoroge and farmhand James Kinyanjui Wambaa in Kiambu.

Mr Waruinge is in remand and recently applied to be released on either bond.

In August last year, Simon Githae was found murdered and his body dumped in a thicket in Thika. The killers had removed the skin from his body.

Mr Githae’s wife Magret Nyambura told the Nation at the time that she suspected the killers were harvesting body parts for rituals because they even took his organs.

Congested with bodies

In September the same year, four unknown bodies were retrieved from River Ruiru. One belonged to a woman.

At General Kago Funeral Home in Thika, the effect of people being killed somewhere else and dumped in Thika, Ruiru or Juja is being felt.

The morgue is one of the biggest in Kiambu. Its proximity to counties such as Murang’a means it is congested with bodies.

Morgue manager Joseph Matere told the Nation in an interview in his office that the facility had 187 unclaimed bodies.

So bad is the situation that as we talked with him, the stench from the bodies could be felt. Some bodies meant for dispatch are lined up on the facility terraces as early as 5am so as to create room for new ones.

“The situation here is very bad. You can see some bodies on the terraces for dispatch,” he said.

“We are overstretched because we have so many unclaimed bodies, some from murders and others killed somewhere else and dumped in nearby rivers, retrieved and brought here.

“The situation is bad. We have not been able to dispose of the bodies because of limited resources.’

Most of the murders, police said, result from business rivalry, love triangles and family infighting over property or personal differences.


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