By Dennis Onsarigo and Wafula for KTN
Six killings with reported links to the investigation into the murder of Jacob Juma have added to the mystery. As Kenyans marked this year’s Madaraka Day, a new murder was being executed.
It was easy to ignore it. It was during a period when the country’s political temperatures had risen, with parallel political rallies at Uhuru Park in Nairobi organised by the Opposition and another one at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru, the official meeting for the national celebrations.
Ms Sally Jirongo, the daughter of former Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo and her boyfriend Cameron Chase Huntler, a 26-year-old American national, were walking to a mall for breakfast. Sally told KTN that her boyfriend was all smiles as they chatted away until three men confronted them.
“They told Babe (sic), give me the bag. Babe (sic) refused and he then pushed me on to the road, one guy came behind me and tried to snatch his bag,” Sally narrates. The 9.00am robbery did not attract any attention from motorists on Kilimani road. “One of them drew a gun and shot him in the face… he fell down face-first and it was awkward. He was bleeding,” she adds. Cameron was now fighting to stay alive.
“Luckily, there was a doctor who stopped and he came with a first aid kit. He tried to stop the bleeding but it was too much. By the time we got to the hospital, the doctor’s car was full of blood. I can’t remember what happened after that.” Cameron was rushed to Nairobi Women’s Hospital, a few kilometres away from the scene of the shooting.
Dr Muiruri Githinji told The Lead and Jicho Pevu, KTN’s investigative programmes that aired last night, that the American “was in a bad state when he was brought in”. Text message “The first thing we do is the ABC of first aid. Clear the air passage, control bleeding… that is what we did, but it was difficult to even let him breathe on his own with brain matter outside his skull,” said Dr Githinji, who attended to Sally’s boyfriend. “He had three gunshot wounds. All at close range,” Dr Githinji said. Cameron succumbed to his injuries. That is when Sally called her father.
Jirongo, the former YK 92 boss, says the killing of Cameron would have passed off as a normal robbery gone wrong until the daughter received a text message a few days later. “The message was warning my daughter to keep quiet or else…” said Jirongo. The former lawmaker now believes that the message was not meant for his daughter but him.
“The message was for me. The law of probability doesn’t work like that, the police were trying to tell me such text messages are written by inmates but the fact it was sent just days after the boy’s killing means something else,” he said. J
irongo captured national headlines when he claimed that high-ranking Government officials were behind the murder of businessmanJacob Juma on the first week of May this year. The killing of Cameron has raised questions whether it was a robbery gone wrong or a coded warning to Jirongo over the remarks he made during a requiem mass of Juma.
“I made the remarks as an elder in my community… what they do before they kill you is first send such messages to those close to you… and again, I just raised concerns because JacobJuma’s killers were never arrested,” said Jirongo.
The politician said no policeman had visited him to follow up on the killing of Cameron. Ideally, every hospital in the country must notify the nearest police station of any reported cases of gunshot-inflicted wounds within 24 hours. Such reports are then followed up by the police, who visit the hospitals. If that was not strange enough, the shooting incident that occurred barely five kilometers away from Kilimani Police Station was booked at the Kabete Police Station.
Again, ideally such a case should have been taken over by police officers drawn from the Kilimani station. “Ordinary thugs only shoot you once, he was shot several times, the same way Jacob Juma was killed,” he said. Weeks after the fatal shooting of Cameron, police in the city announced that they had gunned down his killers.
The person who witnessed the killers take the life of a man she loved was by this time out of the country. “How did they know? My daughter was not even called to identify the body,” Jirongo claims. The killing of the killers of Cameron mirror the cold-blooded murder of four other people whom police claim were behind Juma’s murder.
Unable to find a single witness or lead into the highway gangland execution of Juma, police investigators resorted to analysing two spent cartridges they alleged to have recovered from the scene of his killing. “We recovered two spent cartridges from the scene… We are analysing to know if this is a gun that was used in another incident,” said CID Director Ndegwa Muhoro.
The recovery came after the police announced that they had been unable to recover even a single spent cartridge from the scene, which had remained unsecured. Police would later announce that the spent cartridges from an AK47 rifle were examined and matched the firearm recovered from two people they claimed were notorious city gangsters.
The police painted a picture of a most sought-after gang that had specialised in waylaying its victims and forcing them into automated teller machines (ATMs), where they emptied their savings. DEMAND RANSOM
At times, the gang — according to the police — would kidnap their victims and demand ransom from family members. KTN pieced together the last moments of two of the four men described by the police as most-wanted city gangsters. Simon Muturi and three of his colleagues were gunned down on the night of May 23 on Uhuru Highway.
An AK47 rifle and a pistol were recovered. “I was at work on the day I heard Simon had been killed. We went to look for him at City Mortuary,” said Simon’s brother Edward Muturi. Eunice Wachuka, Simon’s widow, was informed of the killing by her mother. Police were quick to point out that the gun that felled Juma was the very gun they recovered from one of the suspects.
But KTN reported that the police account did not add up in many ways. The man the police claim was a most notorious gangster was a fellow police officer that the Nairobi criminal investigations police chief told a local daily was attached to Wilson Airport police station.
The investigation took KTN to Mombasa, where Simon had worked before being suspended after an assault incident. Simon was moved to Rongai Police Station and later to Nairobi’s Central Police Station. “Simon was depressed. He was seeing a counselor. But he was not a thief,” said Ms Wachuka. On the day he was gunned down, Simon had spent time in Land Mawe estate, a walking distance to the scene where he was shot dead by fellow police officers.
A close friend of the slain officer told KTN that the vehicle they were travelling in was waylaid by police officers, who opened fire indiscriminately. One of the occupants managed to escape as Muturi made it to a tunnel. Armed police officers followed him, arrested and interrogated him for hours before executing him.
The widow said Simon had lost one of his eyes sometime back in Ngong while on a rescue mission of a victim whose house had been raided by an armed gang. In panic, the man shot Simon in the head with a bird-hunting gun. It is not clear why the Flying Squad police officers did not let Simon stand trial in court if he was behind the murder of the slain businessman.
Juma’s killing was carried out by a well-trained gunman, and it’s not clear how a one-eyed Simon would have pulled off such a clean job on the Eurobond whistleblower.
On the night Juma was killed on Lenana Road in Nairobi, Simon was in Limuru tending to his chicken, and a grinding mill, a struggling business he was trying to put up. He left the family with a Sh80,000 bill. KTN does not have evidence of Simon engaging in armed crime in the city, among them what police said was an armed robbery involving a daughter of a former Cabinet minister.
The fact that Juma was shot at close range and his scene of murder staged, the gunning down of Simon and the claim that he was the man behind the murder of the businessman has raised eyebrows. Nothing was stolen from Jacob Juma on the night he was shot. Simon’s widow claims that police visited her and took his uniform and laptop. “They did not do a search. He had nothing. Only Sh2,000 in the bank account.”