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Return of the motorcycle gangs: Kileleshwa, Karen, posh estates targeted

Motorcycle gangs are slowly creeping back into the city, not only in the slums but also in the upmarket estates that include Kileleshwa, Karen and Kilimani estates.

The gangs, which operate on motorbikes, tend to steal all valuables and even snatch mobile phones from locals.

“We have heard about these incidents, a European national was attacked by people on a motorbike,” said Mr James Aming’a, who lives in Kileleshwa.

Such incidents were forgotten and the locals enjoyed walking from one point to another without fear.

This was after the police in Kileleshwa and Kilimani decided to crack down on the motorcycle gangs.

As a result of these attacks, most phones end up in the hands of dealers in the city who sell them at cheaper prices.

On March 6, 2024, more than 300 suspected stolen mobile phones, laptops and tablets were seized.

There is currently an ongoing crackdown on mobile phone theft by detectives and police officers. They are also targeting bodaboda operators who facilitate the theft.

On Monday, April 1, Adamson Bungei issued a stern warning to mobile phone dealers not to buy such phones from suspicious members of the public.

“A number of operators will be arrested and taken to court. We are serious because a number of Kenyans have lost their phones,” Bungei said.

It is a common trend in the city for pillion riders on motorbikes to snatch phones. Later, after the phones are stolen, they are taken to dealers and gadget engineers.

“If you are a mobile phone technician or repairer, stop handling stolen gadgets. You will be an accomplice to the crime if you are found,” Bungei added.

Apart from the city’s posh estates, other common places where phones have been snatched are along the busy Thika Superhighway, River Road, Kirinyaga Road and Kilimani areas.

Others are along Ngong Road, Kayole, Lang’ata Area, Kibra and also in Kawangware.

These mobile phone thieves are so ruthless that they will even kill to get the phones.

The crackdown in Nairobi City came just two months after more than 234 such phones were recovered in the Kayole area. The devices were being transported in a motor vehicle.

During the operation, a suspect identified as Dennis Kioko Mutua was arrested in connection with the theft.
Mr Bungei said the theft of the gadgets had led to criminal elements operating in the city.

All this comes hot on the heels of the daring daylight shooting of a man in Eastleigh, Nairobi, over the weekend, which has revived dreaded memories of criminals using motorbikes to rob in the city.

Adan Ali Mohamed lost Sh3.9 million and was shot and injured at Muratina Street in the city at 11am on Saturday.

Over the weekend, police officers seized dozens of motorbikes along Juja Road in Nairobi County as a result of the incident.

The rider carrying the gunman accelerated and overtook a motorcycle carrying the deceased and shot him at close range.

He was seen demanding a bag containing the cash and when Adan hesitated, he was shot in the neck at close range.

Mr Fred Abuga, the Starehe sub-county police commander, said investigations into the incident were ongoing.

“We have the CCTV footage of the two suspects and action will be taken against them. We are currently analysing the footage,” Mr Abuga said.