MY STORY: The car alarm saved us from gun wielding thugs
When I was in class three, my family moved to a new neighborhood. We used to live in apartments surrounded by many people, but when we moved, we relocated to some place near Karura Forest.
There was a lot of open land, with trees, pasture and scattered homesteads. It was a scary place, especially around the corners because you never knew who or what could be lurking.
One day as my mother was driving us to school, I could feel that it wasn’t going to be a normal day. But I dismissed the thought because I was only 9 years old; I didn’t know what such feelings meant back then.
We entered the car and were out of the gate at about 6:45am, our usual time. I used to read my books all the way to school because there was nothing much to see outside the car.
The journey started smoothly and just as I was about to take my book I saw two men standing suspiciously at a corner in front of us.
As we got closer, they started waving us down like they wanted to ask for a lift. It was a bit weird so we passed them because everyone knows you can’t trust strangers. The moment we passed them, another man jumped directly into our path and my mom had to stop the car immediately.
When I looked up, I saw that the man was pointing a gun directly at my mother. Next thing I know, she was screaming as the man ran to her door trying to pull her out.
My mother was adamant; she wouldn’t leave her kids in the car with the carjackers. They pushed her onto the passenger seat where my big sister was seated and the other two squeezed themselves in the back seat where my two sisters and I were. We were now eight people in a five-seater car and it was choking. And frightening.
I was scared, I knew about carjacking but I had never witnessed it firsthand, leave alone being a victim. The strange man drove, with all of us in the car. I kept thinking, “Where is he taking us?”
Suddenly the car alarm went off because the carjacker had not closed the driver’s door. He panicked and so did his accomplices. “Zima hii kitu ama tutawaua,” he shouted.
My mom told them that the key was at home and we had to turn around to get it; which was a lie because the alarm was attached to the car keys, and the car keys was in the ignition. It was like their minds were not working, and since we were not so far from home, the carjacker turned the car around without hesitation and started driving back.
The car alarm grew louder, they started complaining. Meanwhile, my mom was trying to buy time by giving them wrong directions in the hope that someone would notice we were in danger.
After a short while they couldn’t take it any longer and they decided to leave our car and escape… but not on foot. They blocked another oncoming car. Before the other car was able to turn around, the men jumped out, pointed their guns and entered their car.
As they drove off, I saw there were two people in the car and I felt helpless as I watched them drive away.
It was at this point that my mother started screaming and my sisters all started crying. It was as though they had been frozen all this time. Their screams attracted people and neighbours who came to our aid and I remember my mother repeating the story to every passerby who asked what was wrong.
We were all in shock. We didn’t even go to school, she just drove back home. That day, nothing much happened, we sat around the whole day reflecting on what could have happened if the alarm hadn’t gone off.
Later, while watching the news, we saw that two bodies were found around our area that day, abandoned in a ditch. They had been shot dead.
Caroline Kagose writes for Content Production Media. Content Production Media is a Nairobi based Media Company that creates content for print, online platforms, film and television.