, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 5 – It is a case of untold suffering for residents of Kayole under the hands of ruthless criminal gang called Gaza, whose ideology is cult-like and draws inspiration from a jailed Jamaican artist Vybz Kartel, who is serving a life sentence for killing his associate.
From women to children and even security agencies, no person has been spared from the wrath of the youthful gang members, who are usually armed and will pull the trigger at any slight provocation.
You are not guaranteed of safety whether you cooperate or not, it’s all at their mercy.
And this could explain the reaction of a section of the public, who applauded an officer who publicly executed a criminal suspect, believed to be a member of the Eastleigh-based Super Power gang, in what human rights groups termed as an outright case of extra-judicial killing.
Though police say they are slowly adopting new ways to mask their identity, the Gaza gang members are identified through body tattoos – a dragon or the name Gaza, a tattoo of a tear drop on the face or three cuts on one of the eyebrow.
Capital FM sought to understand the extent of the menace wrecked by organised criminal gangs in Eastleigh and Kayole areas of Nairobi as well as their structures.
– CELEBRITY GANGS –
The Capital FM investigative team first interviewee was with a senior detective based in Kayole, who gave a breakdown of the several gangs in Kayole, their target and their modus operandi.
In Kayole, Gaza is the lead gang and has several other smaller affiliates, all of them with a distinct mandate but whose ultimate goal causes pain to innocent members of the public and to some extent has led to the loss of lives or left others with hefty bills to settle in the hospital.
According to a detective who’s worked in the area for more than 16 years, the Gaza gang operates like the dreaded Mungiki and are armed with guns – real and homemade – and swords.
Their latest stock according to the detective is a Jerico 941 pistol which they stole from a police officer they killed.
Boniface Oketch was based at Soweto Police Station and was killed by gunmen believed to be from the gang he was pursuing together with a colleague.
“They are targeting police officers so that they can restock the armoury; we have managed to recover a number of guns from them,” he told Capital FM News.
Oketch was killed the day another officer, still from Kayole was being buried.
On the same day they killed Oketch, the gang killed three other people still within Kayole, among them a security guard.
The second officer was ambushed by the gang as he was going to have dinner at a local restaurant.
“They have profiled us …being a cop in Kayole you must be brave otherwise you will call it quits,” the office said on condition of anonymity. “Do you know how it is painful to lose a colleague?…he was a young officer and very effective.”
During a recent raid in one of the gang’s residence, he said, officers recovered 15 boxes of ammunition.
“We have a suspect whom we believe has been supplying them with ammunition,” the officer said without giving more details on who he was.
Under Gaza, there is also an affiliate gang called 42 brothers which according to police is usually armed with knives and their operating ground is dark routes and bus stations.
They also break into houses.
“Those we have arrested usually have a bunch of master keys. Most of their breakings happen on Sundays when the majority of residents are away,” the detective said.
Then there is Yakuza, another affiliate gang with youthful members.
Their inspiration is drawn from a Japan-based gang by that name, a transnational crime syndicate.
The third affiliate group is called Smarter, which largely consists of youths controlling various dumping sites.