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Police in Murang’a arrest suspected kidnap gang, rescue woman

The three suspected kidnappers who were arrested by police in Ndikwe Village of Kiharu in Murang'a County

The three suspected kidnappers who were arrested by police in Ndikwe Village of Kiharu in Murang’a County

Police in Murang’a over the weekend arrested three suspected kidnappers and rescued a woman who had been abducted by the gang.

The law enforcers also recovered several police and military uniforms, fake GK and diplomatic car number plates, an axe, a panga, a pair of handcuffs, and navy blue Toyota Wish used as a getaway vehicle by the gang.

A fourth suspect believed to be armed with an AK47 rifle escaped during the Friday night dramatic incident at Ndikwe village in Kiharu, several kilometers from Murang’a Town.

(Read:[VIDEO] Murang’a ‘most wanted’ gangster arrested in failed robbery attemp)

Police rescued Ms Leah Wangu, 54, who had been kidnapped by the gang in the neignbouring St Mary’s village on the Murang’a-Kangema road.

The arrest of the three comes days after another suspected robber described as ‘most wanted’ was arrested at Kabati area in Murang’a South as he and three others attempted to rob a man of Sh250,000.

According to the area Police County Commander Ms Naomi Ichami, the suspects who were arrested on Friday at around 11pm had just abducted the woman pretending to be police officers.

“We were immediately notified after the incident and we swung into action and arrested the three while a fourth one whom we believe was armed with a rifle escaped on a motorbike,” she said Saturday.

ARREST HUSBAND

The gang went to Ms Wangu’s home as she was making dinner and claimed they were officers on a mission to arrest her husband for allegedly selling ‘illegal liquor’.

Her husband operates several businesses including a bar at Mukuyu Town.

But the woman became suspicious and resisted.

One gang member cocked the gun and she complied fearing to be shot.

Her family members heard the commotion and immediately called the police who mounted a hunt for the suspects.

On reaching Ndikwe area, the Toyota Wish car that the gang was using developed a puncture.

AMBUSHED BY POLICE

As they were changing the tyre, a heavy contingent of police officers led by Ms Ichami, area County Commissioner Ms Kula Hache, and area AP Commander Josephat Kinyua ambushed them.

“We strongly believe they are members of a gang which has been engaging in abductions in this area,” said Ms Ichami while addressing the press at the Murang’a North Division Police Station.

She was accompanied by county CID boss Esther Seroney.

The police boss said further investigations would be carried out to establsih whether the gang had committed other crimes in the area.

The arrest of the gang and recovery of the items is a major breakthrough for police in the area who have been struggling to combat increased kidnappings in the area.

Abductors have terrorised residents in the whole county while relatives of kidnapped victims have been forced to part with huge amounts of money running into millions of shillings for the safe

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Murang’a abductors arraigned in court, released on bond

Murang'a County Police Commander Ms Naomi Ichami (in red) and her CID counterpart Esther Seroney (right) display items recovered from a gang of three suspected kidnapers arrested by police on Friday night November 22, 2013. A navy blue Toyota Wish car (behind Ms Ichami) used by the gang was also recovered. The three suspects have been released on a Sh2 million bond each with two sureties of a similar amount by a Murang’a court.

Murang’a County Police Commander Ms Naomi Ichami (in red) and her CID counterpart Esther Seroney (right) display items recovered from a gang of three suspected kidnapers arrested by police on Friday night November 22, 2013.

Three middle-aged men charged with abducting a woman and being in possession of police uniform have been released on a Sh2 million bond each with two sureties of a similar amount by a Murang’a court.

The three, James Nyakema, Jackson Mwangi and Peter Kahura were also given the option of a Sh1 million cash bail each.

They appeared before Murang’a Resident Magistrate Jackline Wekesa.

They denied abducting 54-year-old Leah Wangu Thuo on November 22, 2013 at Njogu- ini village in Murang’a County and being in possession of police and army uniforms.

The court heard that the accused persons were also in possession of an AK47 rifle, a panga and an axe at the time of their arrest.

However, the gun was not recovered as a fourth suspect managed to escape with it.

The magistrate ordered the area Criminal Investigations Officer to carry out thorough investigations before the mention date which will be on November 28, 2013.

KIDNAP GANG

The accused are suspected to be members of a gang that has been involved in several kidnappings in the county since February 2012.

The men took their victim, Ms Thuo, from her home at around 11pm as she was preparing the family evening meal. They had pretended to be police officers.

The suspects were apprehended by officers in Murang’a North who intercepted them at the neighbouring Ndikwe Village on the Murang’a-Mugoiri road.

A fourth suspect believed to be armed with an AK47 rifle escaped during the dramatic incident last Friday night. Police also recovered a Toyota Wish car used as a getaway vehicle by the gang.

The arrest of the three comes days after another suspected robber described as ‘most wanted’ was arrested at Kabati area in Murang’a South as he and three others attempted to rob a man of Sh250,000.

More than 18 people have been abducted within the county or brought to the area from neighbouring counties of Kirinyaga, Kiambu and Nyeri after being kidnapped.

A total of Sh2.8 million has so far been paid out to criminals as ransom by families of eight victims abducted in the area.

The arrest and charging of the latest three suspects is a major breakthrough for the police in the area who had been grappling with the abductions which seemed to be going out of hand.

-Nation

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