Is this the end of the road for Kenya’s most feared cop?

Gun attack

Ipoa is investigating 112 cases of enforced disappearance and cases of police officers accused of extrajudicial killings.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

He has been described as Kenya’s “killer cop” and “Kenya’s most feared cop”.

But as they say, power is transient and what goes around comes around.

Today, the Nation focuses on whether the end is nearing for one of the most feared officers in the country – who operates in Eastleigh and its environs. The Nation cannot name him at this time for legal reasons, until he is officially arrested. 

This is amidst concerns raised by President William Ruto that police officers were largely involved in extra-judicial killings.

Early this week, the Independent Policing and Oversight Authority (Ipoa) announced that it was investigating 112 cases of enforced disappearance and cases of police officers accused of extrajudicial killings, as it assured Kenyans that most of the cases had already been concluded and the next step was charging the accused in court.

“Ipoa continues to face challenges of non-cooperation by some members of the National Police Service (NPS). In view of this, the authority wishes to affirm that it will invoke the provisions of section 31 of the Ipoa Act. Further, in instances where it is evidenced, the authority will invoke individual or command responsibility to ensure accountability,” Ms Ann Makori, the Ipoa chairperson, said.

The Nation focuses on the Pangani Six – a team of security officers -- which is allegedly led by the top cop who is accused of extra-judicial killings, and four officers who are currently in court over their involvement with the Special Service Unit (SSU) that was disbanded by newly appointed Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss Amin Mohamed Ibrahim. 

It also focuses on Titus Musila alias Katitu, a police officer who is serving a 15-year jail term after he was found guilty of murder.

We also have existing police squads that so far, the Nation is yet to put a face to, including the officers that go by the famous name, Hessy, and Radiation Squad.

The infamous Pangani six

In March 2017, the feared cop hit news headlines after he was identified as the plain clothes police officer who shot and killed two men who were unarmed in broad daylight.

The incident was captured in an amateur video that made the rounds on social media, leading to the identification of the shooter. 

He was then a corporal and gave an interview to an international media house, saying that the mandate of the police was to deal with criminals and they should always get hold of them dead or alive.

“We have to get them whether alive or dead. That one does not have any compromise about it (sic),” he told the media in an interview.

The cop is believed to be the leader of the so-called Pangani Six, and activists have year in, year out, called for his arrest and prosecution over the murders, but to date, this has never happened.

On the other hand, some residents praise him, calling him a great man who has helped restore sanity, especially in the areas of Eastleigh that border the sprawling Mathare slum.

The Pangani Six are plain-clothes police officers who usually enter deep inside the slums where uniformed officers fear walking because it is home to hardcore criminals that kill at the slightest provocation. 

In an interview with the Nation, Ms Makori said that investigations on the policeman were almost complete, with a number of officers having been questioned on the same matter.

“Please be informed that the investigation is almost complete. The authority has summoned a few police officers (and we are) in finalisation of statement taking. This is a precursor to appropriate recommendation making,” Ms Makori said.

This week, Ipoa Commissioner John Waiganjo said his file had been handed over to the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions and a plea-taking process was expected in the coming days. 

“This took a long time … but now we have the political goodwill,” he said.

The fate of the members of the group that he leads remains unknown because Ipoa only focused on the feared cop.

Officers attached to disbanded SSU linked to abduction and killing of two Indians

 In a shocking detailed affidavit, it has emerged that four police officers attached to the disbanded SSU abducted and killed two Indians and their Kenyan driver, who have been missing since July.

The two Indians were abducted on the busy Mombasa Road and were taken to the Aberdare Forest, where they were killed. The details are contained in a damning affidavit that was this week produced at the Kahawa Law Courts by investigating officer Michael Kirui.

The affidavit did not highlight the motive for the murders, but shed light on an alleged killer squad that is ready to pull the trigger and which worked closely with other rogue elements within the DCI.

Mr Peter Muthee Gachiku, Mr Francis Muendo Ndonye, Mr John Mwangi Kamau and Mr Joseph Kamau Mbugua, who are accused of killing Mohamed Zaid Sami and Zulfiqar Ahmed Khan from India and their Kenyan taxi driver Nicodemus Mwania, were arraigned before Chief Magistrate Diana Mochache.

Their woes started when they were summoned to the DCI headquarters and asked to hand over their guns before they were suspended from the police service.

This happened to the four and their 17 other colleagues.

It is then that the Internal Affairs Unit summoned the four officers and asked them to give details of their whereabouts and what happened on the day the three men were abducted. 

The two Indians are said to have been part of a team that had come to Kenya to join the IT team for Dr Ruto to run the election campaigns for the August 9 polls.

A senior detective privy to the ongoing investigations said during interrogation, the four officers threatened to let the cat out of the bag on some issues known among the team.

“We are aware that the four have asked the 17 others to assist them in this matter or else they will share more secrets on the operations of the group,” said the detective who spoke in confidence because he is not authorised to address the media.

The police source further said already, plans were under way to question the remaining officers on more cases and their involvement.

On Wednesday, five more officers of the disbanded unit were arrested.

Titus Musila alias Katitu 

Katitu

Titus Musila alias Katitu at the High Court in Milimani on February 7, 2018. He was handed 15 years in prison.

Photo credit: File

He was a famous officer in Githurai, Ruiru Sub County in Nairobi, who was jailed for 15 years after he was found guilty of murder.

Residents of Githurai 45 loved him and when the ruling was made by the court that he should be jailed, they organised demonstrations and brought business along the busy Thika Superhighway to a standstill.

The residents demanded that he be released unconditionally, saying he had restored sanity by ensuring the crime rate in the vast Githurai area had gone down.

High court Judge James Wakiaga, while delivering the judgment, said despite Katitu being a hero to the people of Githurai, he acted against the law by taking the life of an individual.

“I decline to accept the argument that Katitu was loved by residents for his resilience in fighting crime because justice does not recognise popularity,” said Justice Wakiaga.

The judge said there were better ways of dealing with crime and that the officer could have handcuffed taken into custody Kenneth, the young man Katitu was accused of killing.

The judge added that police officers should exercise their powers according to the law and firearms should only be used where there is a need.

Alternating Current that drives the famous faceless officers known as ‘Hessy’

The killer officers under this squad go by the social media handles Hessy wa Dandora, Hessy wa Eastlando and Hessy wa Kayole, among other Hessys.

Others are Blackest Widow, Wendy Black Panther, Saigonpunisher James and the most recent one -- Speakup.

They are described as faceless because no one can tell who they are, but accounts on Facebook in their names are known to name suspected criminals and send warnings to them to change their ways, failure to which they will die.

The public also shares information with the officers through Facebook. 

In the most witnessed cases of extrajudicial killings, especially within Nairobi, the groups usually give chilling details of those that have been killed either by mobs or shot dead by police officers.

In 2019, residents of Kayole, Njiru Sub-County believed that the end of the road for the Hessy teams had come.

This is after former DCI boss George Kinoti heard accounts from families of how their loved ones had been executed by police.

Mr Kinoti then said that no one would die at the hands of the police anymore because there were better ways of dealing with crime.

"I am saying no one will ever cover for a police officer who kills under my watch," Mr Kinoti vowed then.

The remarks marked the start of the disbandment of the Flying Squad, which was also linked to extrajudicial killings and robberies in the city.

The Hessys, however, remained popular and active.

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