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Ugandan soldier among slain robbery suspects

NAIROBI, June 25 – A Ugandan Soldier was among five robbery suspects killed by police in Kenya’s Capital, Nairobi on Tuesday night, police said.

The soldier was gunned down alongside three other Kenyan men, all said to be notorious criminals in Buru Buru, a middle-class suburb in the Eastlands part of the city.

"They had robbed a vehicle belonging to a car hire firm and changed its registration plates when they were encountered," said Kipkemoi Rop, the divisional Police chief in the area.

"The gangsters were armed with a pistol and they opened fire when they were challenged to stop. That is when our officers responded and gunned them down," Rop said in an interview with Capital News early Wednesday.

The fatal shoot-out occurred at a fuel station on Rabai Road, one of the feeder roads in the estate common with cases of carjacking and robberies.

Police Spokesman Erick Kiraithe said detectives had established that one of the men was not a Kenyan.

"He is from a neighbouring country (Uganda). Our officers are investigating to establish his activities in the country," Kiraithe said when Capital Newsbeat sought a comment from him over reports that one of the suspects killed was a Ugandan soldier.

A senior police source said detectives had established that the man was a Ugandan Soldier.

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"One of the men is a Ugandan Soldier and we are investigating his activities in the country," said a senior police source who requested to remain anonymous.

Two other suspected gangsters were gunned down on Juja road and Dandora estates on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

Area divisional Police chief Jasper Ombati said the two suspects were separately found robbing pedestrians.

Two toy pistols were found.

"In Juja road in particular, the gangster was found mugging pedestrians at about 10 am," he said.

The killings brought to eighteen the number of suspected gangsters shot dead by police in Nairobi and Central Province since Monday night.

The thirteen other suspected robbers including five suspected to be members of the outlawed Mungiki were killed in robbery-related incidents that occurred in Nairobi and Central Provinces on Monday night and early Tuesday morning.

The suspects were all gunned down in shoot-outs as they robbed or attempted to rob residents in the two provinces, police said.

Eight of them were shot dead in Nairobi during car jacking and mugging incidents reported in a down town street and Kasarani division.

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They include the killing of four suspected thugs gunned down on Kirinyaga road at 3 am, 2 killed on Tom Mboya Street and two others who were shot dead in Githurai estate.

Kasarani and Central divisional police chiefs said a total of four pistols were recovered in the incidents.

"We had two incidents involving the killing of six suspected thugs who have been notorious in carjacking and muggings in town," Central division’s Tito Kilonzi said of the Tom Mboya and Kirinyaga road shoot-outs.

Among those killed, Kilonzi said, are three suspects who were wanted for a series of carjacking and other armed robberies in Nairobi.

Capital News has independently learnt that one of the slain men had been arrested twice and released under unclear circumstances between February and March this year.

In the Kasarani incident, the area divisional Police chief Jasper Ombati said those killed were equally notorious thugs.

He said they were part of a well-organized gang that had specialized in burglaries and mugging with neighbouring estates.

"Officers on patrol were tipped off that the gangsters were mugging pedestrians at Githurai but when they were accosted, they started running away while shooting at our officers, that was when they were killed," he said.

At least three burglaries are reported in the larger Kasarani estate on a daily basis and police linked the slain suspects to many of the incidents.

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"In fact, some residents were able to positively identify bodies of the slain men as those of criminals who had either attacked them or their neighbours in the recent past," Ombati said in a telephone interview.

In Kirinyaga district, five suspected thugs believed to be members of the outlawed Mungiki sect were shot dead when they were reportedly found terrorizing patrons in bars and restaurants.

They mainly targeted bars and restaurants in remote trading centres in Kianyaga division, police said.

Police said the thugs were confronted as they left a bar where they had robbed patrons of money and mobile phones while armed with machetes and pistols.

Central Provincial Criminal Investigations Department (CID) chief Sebastian Ndaru said the Mungiki suspects engaged officers in a cat and mouse chase as they searched for an escape route in the division using a saloon car.

"When they were encountered, they attempted to escape but our officers were able to catch up with them. They engaged them in a shoot-out and managed to gun down five of them," he said.

"We suspect they are members of the outlawed Mungiki gang," he added.

Ndaru said the thugs were armed with pistols and other crude weapons.

"These are dangerous criminals and we highly suspect they are Mungiki members. They were armed with machetes," he said on telephone.

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A man said to have been set free by a Nyeri Court recently was also found killed a few kilometres from where the shoot-out occurred.

Ndaru said detectives were investigating circumstances of his death.

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