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November 21, 2018

Victims’ graves suspected in gangster granny’s compound

The home of 80 years old Peninah Wambui Muturi who was gunned down by the police over a kidnapping in Murang'a last week.
The home of 80 years old Peninah Wambui Muturi who was gunned down by the police over a kidnapping in Murang'a last week.

Police are investigating numerous graves said to be in the compound of the 80-year-old granny shot dead for kidnapping in Murang’a last week.

Murang’a criminal investigations officer Julius Rutere said the probe shows Peninah Muturi’s home was a holding ground for kidnappers as they demanded ransom from the victims’ families.

It is suspected that kidnappers buried victims who died in their custody in Muturi’s farm. Police are combing the farm to establish how many graves are there and who was buried. “The elderly woman lost three sons, so we want to find out whose graves the rest are,” Rutere said. The number of graves was not known.

The detective said police are investigating convicts serving life sentences at the Naivasha prison. They are suspected to have been part of the kidnapping ring.

Other suspects are still at large.

One of Muturi’s sons is serving a life sentence at the prison. Sources said the convicts have Sim swapping gadgets to register new phone lines inside the prison.

County commissioner John Elungata told chiefs to use the Nyumba Kumi initiative to spot criminals.

Elungata said after Muturi’s death, villagers said they had seen suspicious of activities in her home for years but were afraid to report it. “They praised the police for getting rid of the suspects,” he said.

The granny lost her life as she tried to shield two other suspects, one of whom was her niece. She charged at police officers with a panga.

The victim, 36-year-old Margaret Waithera, was being guarded day and night. Police only managed to get those who were guarding her during the day.

Investigators said Waithera was not picked randomly and the kidnappers had tracked her movements. She was seized as she went back home in Kiria village after taking her brother to Othaya. Waithera was way laid on a dilapidated road.

“We want to break this cycle. We want people who feel threatened because of their positions, jobs or businesses to share the information with us so we can protect them,” Elungata said.

He said Murang’a is close to Nairobi, making it accessible to criminals. “The fact we caught those criminals and others shows even those at large will be found.”

Elungata urged residents to report suspicious activities, sightings and rumours.

He dismissed claims there is a gang of elderly criminals, saying this granny and another elderly woman, arrested for peddling bhang in Murang’a town, are isolated cases.

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