Two girls who had been kidnapped from Westlands area in Nairobi have been rescued, officials said.
Police say they rescued the 14-year-old twins from a house in Upper Matasia area in Ngong on Monday night and arrested nine suspects among them a former police officer in connection with the incident that took place 11 days ago.
The kidnappers had been demanding Sh86 million but had climbed down to Sh20 million following negotiations. The gang was waiting for the cash to be delivered only to be shocked to see armed police officers strike.
Head of Flying Squad Nyale Munga said they struck at the house and managed to rescue the girls who were in good health and took them to safe custody.
“They are in good health and we have the main suspects. Four of the suspects have so far appeared in court and the rest will take plea on Wednesday,” said Munga.
The two girls were identified as Ahwal Kaul Mahjan and Abhita Kaur Mahjan and were kidnapped on October 3 at Brookside along Grivellia Groove in Westlands as they returned home.
They are pupils at Peponi School in Ruiru and the family runs the Mada Hotels chain.
The family operates 11 hotels around East Africa, nine of which are in Kenya. Kilima Safari Camp in Amboseli National Park and the 4-star Hotel La Mada in Muthaiga are its flagship brands.
Police had been pursuing the kidnappers for days but were unable to trace them immediately because they kept the girls in a three bedroomed house far away from where they were negotiating.
According to Nyale, the former Administration Police officer implicated in the incident had been arrested and charged with a robbery of cash in transit years ago at the Co-operative Bank headquarters in Nairobi.
Another suspect in the case is said to be running an office in Kilimani area from where he was making his calls to the family, negotiating the ransom while the girls were kept in Ngong, about 30 kilometers away.
Cases of kidnapping had been on a downward trend and the latest one is a wake up call for security agencies to act and stop them.
Statistics show Nairobi has up to 14 organised criminal gangs involved in kidnappings.
Most of these gangs operate in informal settlements where policing is poor, according to the report done by The National Crime Research Centre.
Police profiled the 46 organised gangs operating in the various informal settlements as ‘Yes We Can’ in Kibera slums, J-10, Kamkunji Pressure Group, Siafu, Kibera Batallion and Nubians.
Others include Kamkunji Boys in the Kamkunji area, Munyipi in Mathare, Super Power in Eastleigh, Kenya Youth Alliance, Taliban in Kayole and Dandora, Jeshi La Wazee in Kangemi, Kamjeshi in Eastlands, Al-Shabaab, Jeshi La Embakasi and Mungiki.
The report shows the gangs also get funds through extorting the public, theft, robbery, politicians, and selling of stolen goods. Other activities include illegal levies, group members’ contributions, drug trafficking, hijacking and piracy, terrorism and rent collection.