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Thugs used woman as shield in gun drama

An innocent woman, being used as a human shield, was accidentally shot dead as police gunned down two suspected robbers in the city centre.

The woman, wearing a black hijab, was being held hostage by one of the gangsters on Kamba lane off Moi Avenue when she was hit by a police bullet.

She was rushed to the Crescent Medical Centre opposite Jamia Mall where she died while undergoing treatment.

The robber who was armed with a Browning pistol was shot dead by plainclothes police moments later.

His accomplice also carrying a Browning pistol fled into the nearby Kimathi street chased by two armed policemen who shot and killed him near Nation Centre.

He was hit by one bullet in the forehead and another in the neck and died on the pavement as horrified passerby ran for cover.

Another gangster is said to have taken cover in a taxi parked opposite Nation Centre before disappearing into the crowd.

According to the Central Police deputy OCPD Julius Kyombule, Police had trailed the gangsters from the Kimathi Mausoleum from where they planned to rob a bank on Moi Avenue.

“Police were trailing the four from the Kimathi Mausoleum where police confirmed that they were armed and were planning to rob a bank on Moi Avenue,” Mr Kyombule said.

Gun fight

The gangsters started walking towards the Bazaar Plaza across the road. It is at this point that they were confronted by police officers who had been monitoring their movements.

Realising they had been cornered, the gangsters drew guns and started fleeing towards Moi Avenue while shooting in the air with police in hot pursuit, eyewitnesses said.

A guard at the Ranalo eatery narrated how bullets fired by the police officers narrowly missed the fleeing gangsters near GT Bank’s ATM, opposite Total Petrol Station.

“What followed was a fierce exchange of fire. One of the thugs was shot dead outside the Bata shop near the junction of Kenyatta Avenue and Kimathi Street. Later on we realised that another thug was shot just behind the Nation Centre,” he said. 

Taxi escape

This particular gangster had momentarily taken cover between two vehicles parked right in front of Nation Centre before he took to his heels while shooting in the air. 

A taxi driver recounted how one of the gangsters who was dressed in a light blue shirt managed to escape by hiding in a parked taxi.

“He entered one of the taxis and when the shootout was over, he walked away calmly. We could not do anything because he was armed and he seemed to have escaped from the police view,” said the taxi driver. 

It was not immediately clear how the fourth gangster escaped the heavy police gunfire during the midday drama.

This was the latest in a spate of armed robberies in the city centre since the year began.

Just three weeks ago, police shot dead two suspects who had planned to rob a woman who had withdrawn Sh300,000 from the Barclays Bank Moi Avenue branch.

A week earlier, armed gangsters had shot and critically injured two female cashiers near the Ambassadeur hotel in a failed robbery attempt.

The women were taking Sh1.2 million to the bank when they were attacked. The thugs fled when police arrived at the scene.