Daily Nation (Kenya), Feb. 6, 2003
A police officer was killed yesterday in a vicious attack by Mungiki [sect] members in Nairobi’s Dandora Estate in which the proscribed Mungiki and matatu [commuter transport] business feuds were implicated.
The officer’s body was doused in petrol and burnt beyond recognition in what may be the most atrocious attack on a policeman in the line of duty by civilians. The attackers fled with his loaded G-3 rifle.
At least three other police officers were injured during the 1030 [local time] attack.
The gang, estimated at between 200 and 300 by witnesses, also burnt a Bustrack bus after relieving its estimated 50 passengers of valuables.
The crooks, who were armed with machetes and wore woollen head gear, also destroyed several private vehicles and killed a police tracker dog.
Three passengers sustained gun-shot wounds in the orgy of violence after the matatu they were in was shot at by the hoodlums in the estate’s Phase One. They were later rushed by good Samaritans to nearby dispensaries.
And Police had by last night arrested at least 36 suspects and recovered scores of machetes following the incident that paralysed transport operations in the populous estate.
Sources said at least one Mungiki member was gunned down as the operation shifted to Njiru area where the sect faithful took refuge.
The slain police constable was a member of a crack unit operating under cover, which was formed recently to penetrate and destroy Mungiki’s strong-arm control of matatu routes in Dandora. He had been recently transferred from the Gigiri police station.
His attackers appeared to know him. A colleague who was with him managed to slip away from the charging crowd.
Although the slain officer was armed, one of his colleagues said, he avoided shooting directly at his attackers “because he did not want to be accused later of killing an innocent citizen”.
“The attackers overpowered and slashed him, doused him in petrol and struck a match. The body was burnt beyond recognition,” he said.
His name could not be immediately released as his next of kin had not been informed by last night.
About 10 other officers had to momentarily seek refuge in a Dandora flat and at one time even changed into civilian clothes offered by residents to conceal their identity from the blood- thirsty gangsters.
More police officers and tracker dogs were called in to pursue the crooks who escaped on foot towards thickets in Njiru and Ruai. A police helicopter was immediately dispatched to the area.
Several attackers were believed to have been killed in the ensuing heavy gunfire as the officers, led by the Nairobi Provincial CID boss Gabriel Mutunga sought to flush them out
By the time we went to press, there were heavy casualties lying in the thickets and it was expected that more suspects would be flushed out. It could not be immediately established whether any of the gangsters was dead.
The exchange of fire in thickets corroborated eye-witness accounts that some of the hoodlums were armed with guns.
An officer who took part in the operation said that the gang was armed with at least two guns and also escaped with a loaded G-3 rifle which they took away from the slain officer.
Eyewitnesses said the gang appeared from a slum valley near the Kariobangi Light Industries.
Tension remained high and there was no transport into the estate by last night. Residents returning from the city centre were forced to walk five to seven kilometres to get to their houses.
Officers had been detailed to patrol the area and stem any planned secondary attacks.