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Life turns into nightmare in Rongai

Gangsters are slowly turning Nairobi’s Ongata Rongai suburb into a hotbed of crime.

After dusk, gangs lie in wait outside palatial homes and pounce on their owners as they return from work.

Mr Robert Kariuki is the latest victim of the attackers; he was shot at his home last Sunday.

He had driven back home at 2am, when three men— one armed with a pistol— attacked him as his wife was opening the gate.

At gunpoint, the assailants escorted him to the house where the family was hosting visitors, and robbed them of personal valuables and household goods.

Mr Kariuki was shot in the chest before the gangsters sped off in a Toyota Prius belonging to one of the visitors.

The escape was short-lived because at 5am, police officers on patrol in Hardy area, unaware of the incident in Rongai, spotted a vehicle parked in Kuwinda slums.

“The officers approached the vehicle but a man emerged and opened fire. The officers shot back and killed two men as they attempted to escape,” said Nairobi police chief Benson Kibui.

“The one who had fired and another accomplice managed to escape. Two toy pistols were found at the scene.”

Inside the vehicle, police found the goods the criminals had stolen from Mr Kariuki’s house.

Mr Kariuki was admitted to Kenyatta National Hospital.

Attacks of this nature have been on the rise in Ongata Rongai, which has recorded exponential growth in recent years.

The suburb has been the place to make a home for many Nairobians running away from the congestion and pollution in the many estates near to the city centre.

However, gangsters, who have been mainly targeting  the wealthy, are making many to live in fear. Several people have been killed and many injured by the criminals.

On December 18, head of Transparency International in Kenya Justus Nyang’aya was shot several times after gangsters raided his home.

He survived to tell the ordeal because the gangsters ran out of bullets and fled, but not before snatching his wallet and picking several household goods.

A gang of six entered the human rights defender’s home as he returned  from a neighbouring residence.

He was shot three times— twice in the arm and once in the chest— as he struggled with the gangsters to prevent them from getting to his children, who were in the other rooms.

On September 26, a banker  was shot dead during a 5am raid at his home.

Four days earlier, former Nation Media Group journalist Tony Kago was shot dead by gangsters as he drove into his home shortly before midnight.

He was shot after stopping at his gate and was waiting for his wife, Carolyne Risancho, to open it.

However, all is not gloom. Rongai police division has a new commander, Mr Silas Mutiga Ringera, who has vowed to arrest the runaway crime.

Mr Ringera on Wednesday said they had stepped up patrols, especially at night.

“We started by ensuring that all areas are covered. To achieve this, we incorporated private security firms,” he said.

He described the Sunday incident as “very unfortunate,” saying that his officers would work hard to deter such incidents from occurring again.

“Though we have put in place adequate measures, we are seeking the help of the public,” he said.

“They should give information to the police regarding criminal elements in this area and I can assure you that all reports will be acted upon with confidence.”