NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 27 – Police in Nairobi and Eastern Province were on high alert on Saturday after three CID officers were gunned down while on patrol in Athi River.
The officers attached to the Athi River CID offices were in a station wagon vehicle patrolling the Nairobi-Mombasa highway when they bumped onto a robbery at a fuel station, according to police.
They were killed at the Zahra Service Station, a few meters from the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC).
“They were on their normal patrol, when they drove into the fuel station as part of their surveillance. Unknown to them, eight gangsters were busy robbing people,” Machakos divisional police chief Hassan Barua said.
“They (gangsters) had tied people with ropes and when they spotted the officers, they attacked them before they could even alight from their vehicles,” he said and added that the officers were robbed of three AK 47 rifles and 90 bullets.
A witness who was among those robbed by the gangsters said they heard the gangsters saying that “they were in danger” before they drew their guns.
“They were busy ransacking our pockets behind the fuel station, suddenly they heard a vehicle coming and two of them went to check. That is when they informed their colleagues that the vehicle belonged to police officers,” Michael Malonza said.
“One of them who appeared to be commanding the others told another who was armed with an AK47 to shoot at the vehicle. I was lying down and I just heard loud bursts of gunfire,” he added.
Another witness said the gangsters took off immediately after the shooting.
“I heard a commotion as they loaded what they had stolen from us into their vehicle and then they sped off. After a while we were able to gather courage and we went to check,” he said.
“That is when we found two people lying dead in a pool of blood. A fuel station attendant was able to identify them and said they were police officers who were very well known to them,” he said.
It is estimated that upto 20 people or more were robbed at the fuel station by the eight gangsters who were riding in two cars.
After shooting dead the officers, the gangsters were reported to have thrown out two of their bodies and drove the car with the body of one of the officers on board.
Police officers manning a roadblock about 2 kilometers away reported that they had spotted a vehicle with shattered rear windscreen.
That is when officers were mobilized and the vehicle was recovered a few kilometers from the roadblock.
“It was horrible scene, a police vehicle parked on the roadside with an officer’s lifeless body in it,” Eastern Provincial CID chief Lilian Kiamba said.
CID Director Karanja Gatiba vowed to “get the criminals.”
“We have mobilized all our resources and manpower. We will get them,” he said.
Special Crime Prevention Unit (SCPU) boss Richard Katola told Capital News they suspected a serial killer in the region as the mastermind of Saturday morning’s robbery and subsequent killing of the police officers.
“The description we have been given clearly fits a man who have been on the loose. He is trigger happy and we highly suspect he is the one behind all this. We are after him and his team,” Mr Katola said.