Most wanted Kenyan criminal on the run
Posted by African Press International on February 18, 2007
This is a lifted story we think is of interest to all peace loving people. We have decided to carry it as it is. The man could be anywhere near you. Give a helping hand to the authorities in their efforts to net him.
*”If only it was possible to return this son I gave birth to, 30 years ago, I would willingly do it. But this is something that will haunt me to my grave. Please surrender and give yourself up. This is the only way your life will be spared and give you a chance for a fair trial.”
Brushing off tears of sorrow from her wizened eyes, the distraught grandmother turns her face outside her tin-walled kitchen as she mouths her potent curse.
Then she adds: “Kori karega nyina no gukua gakuaaga. Ndimukanitie maita maingi no ndaiguaaga. Riu ni ndamuneana kuri thirikari” ( if a goat’s kid rejects its mother, it dies. I have warned him many times but he doesn’t listen. Now I have surrendered him to the Government).
Martha Wanjiru’s discourse is temporarily disrupted. She looks up fearfully as four heavily armed policemen troop around her compound.
There is a deathly silence but the law enforcers march on without uttering a word on their journey from the shamba to the main road.
Even as they pass, the policemen cast icy, accusing looks at the occupants of the compound.
A colleague volunteers that we are visitors from Nairobi and asks the police not to shoot, but no response is forthcoming.
Sh150, 000 bounty on his headWelcome to the home of Kenya’s most wanted and hunted man, Simon Matheri Ikere, the man on whose head the police have placed a bounty of Sh150, 000.
As if she has not been interrupted, Wanjiru continues with her soul searching.
“If I catch him with these bare hands, I will just hand him over to the police. I think I have suffered enough for his sins.”
Wanjiru, a born-again Christian married to a career truck driver, Mr Peter Ikere Gichungu, is going through what no mother should ever be forced to endure.
“I regret having given birth to him. Many are the times I have carpeted him over his alleged crimes but he always denied. Now he is an outlaw being hunted down like a wild animal,” says Wanjiru amid tears.
Both parents say they have not laid their eyes on their son for over a year and they are not eager to see him as he has caused them enough troubles.
None in the village seem to have full information on who this man, Matheri, is. Everyone says they spent little time with him at home to know his real character.
Not even the parents or brothers. The father spent most of his time out of his matrimonial home looking for a living to sustain the family. He was a truck driver for all the time Matheri was at home.
The mother too says she does not know where things started going wrong in her son. His father wistfully recalls last month when police came to his homestead and bragged that they had gunned down Matheri.
“Even before we had started mourning, we realised the police had made a mistake. The man they killed was James Matheri. It was back to our old suffering,” he says.
“Look at this two roomed shack. It stands in place of another grand house which was gutted down by irate villagers,” says Ikere.
Villagers attempted to wipe out entire familyHe explains that when angry villagers came calling at his compound in August last year, they had only one intention – to wipe out the entire family.
The nightmare for the Ikeres started five years ago when Matheri, whose mercurial temper and penchant for violence is unmatched in the family, set his own house on fire.
“I could not stand such violence. I decided to have him prosecuted and was consequently jailed for five years,” says the 73-year-old father of eight.
Although the family had some peace during the five-year interlude when Matheri served his time, they had to pay dearly.
According to relatives who fear being named, while at Kamiti Maximum Security prison, Matheri graduated into a hardened criminal.
“Matheri dropped out of Kihara primary school in class six. I cannot give any specific reason. Previously he had no record of truancy but he just refused to go to school one day,” says the father.
He adds that at no time did his family go hungry.
He says: “My son was not jealous or greedy. I do not know who trained him to be a thief but I feel he learnt this in Kamiti.”
Ikere recalls that, immediately his eighth born son dropped out of school, he enrolled him as an apprentice with a jua Kali welder in Wangige area.
Nobody wanted to talk on the country’s enemy number oneHere, he learnt how to weld and finally emerged as a blacksmith and a mechanic. All the while he was residing at Wangige shopping centre, where he did his business.
At the shopping centre nobody wanted to talk on the country’s enemy number one. All the local businessmen would say was “we don’t know him.”
At home, the father surveys his building block sadly, a building that once gave him more than Sh9, 000 a month. Ikere says he knows his son is short tempered and perhaps that is why he kills his robbery victims.
The blue building which once served as a butchery, general shop and a salon is now deserted after the tenants were chased away by hostile villagers last August.
Apparently, it was at Kamiti that the Wangige blacksmith graduated from an arsonist into a dangerous criminal whose first strike was at Murang’a District.
Interestingly, Matheri chose the birth district of his namesake, the infamous Bernard Matheri Thuo, alias Rasta.
At Murang’a, a relative disclosed that Matheri was involved in a series of robberies after his release until all his gang mates were shot dead.
“Matheri survived by swimming across a fast flowing river to evade a hail of bullets and police sniffer dogs. He came home for the first time and we realised he was now a hard-core criminal,” intimates a brother.
Another brother, who too fears being photographed or named, recalls how after coming home, Matheri secretly purchased a gun.
“In a fit of rage, Matheri confronted one of his elder bothers with the gun. It was an AK 47 rifle. I was petrified,” he says.
Family tipped police that he was armedWith the knowledge that their brother was in possession of the lethal weapon, the family could no longer ignore the cruel truth anymore.
A close relative says that the family tipped police at the nearby chief’s camp that Matheri was armed.
“It was as if he learnt that his secret had been discovered because he started staying away from home, sometimes coming home only late at night and fleeing from his three-roomed house,” he says.
“After he came from prison, I thought he was a good man. I used my own money to build him another house,” the father recalls.
The house was, however, burnt down by members of a vigilante group as a warning to Matheri.
“They came at night. Matheri was not at home. They set the house on fire. Everybody scampered for safety,” Wanjiru says.
She shakes her head sadly as she recalls how her husband was cornered by members of the vigilante group and pierced with arrows and then clobbered on the head.
“He is not the same anymore. He was bleeding profusely and no neighbour would assist us take him to hospital. Those who had vehicles and tried to take him to hospital were threatened,” Wanjiru says.
Ikere says that, since then, his neighbours have been gripped by a Matheri phobia and even chicken thieves have started taking advantage of his bad name.
“Every time someone is robbed at gun point in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu or any other major town, I get visitors. The self appointed peace keepers of Wangige invade my home and attack me and my family,” he says.
Vigilante of bloodthirsty youthsOn August 16 last year, Matheri shot dead Mr Muthee Ng’ethe, a relative, and the vigilante group stormed Mzee Ikere’s home.
They destroyed seven houses, among them that of Matheri’s parents and one belonging to his brother, Robert Ndung’u.
The family, however, dispels any speculation that they have blood relationship with the late notorious Matheri, alias Rasta.
The family is torn between its fear of the police and the vigilante group, for they are sure the pursuit of their son will ultimately end in death.
“I do not mind the police. They operate within a specified set of rules but these members of the vigilante are just bloodthirsty youths. They attack and destroy property,” Ikere moans.
‘We, just like Matheri, are nomads. At times we are refugees in our own village. We do not know when the vigilante will strike. We need police protection,” sobs Wanjiru.
As Francis Imbuga penned in his book, Betrayal in the City, “when the madness of an entire nation lies on solitary soldiers, it is not enough to say the man is insane.”
Hit and run robber interested in small moneyMatheri is reported to be behind a series of robberies in Kiambu, Kitengela and Nairobi. Police also say he is not a big time robber but a hit and run robber interested in small money. Among the murders the police believe Matheri and his gang have committed include the celebrated HIV/Aids vaccine Researcher, Prof Job Bwayo, businessmen Lawrence Regeru, and Humphrey Gichuru Karugi, 57, and his son Kiarie, 21.
Investigations have also linked him to the murder of two Americans, Zelda White and Loise Anderson, in Kinoo last month.
The police also want Matheri to answer for the killings of Njeri Kuria, John Wahome, John Ngugi, former deputy commissioner of police, James Peter Gatui, and businessman Morgan Njenga.
Gatui was shot dead on August 4 as he inspected a construction site at Kirigiti in Kiambu. His killers walked away casually, not even bothering to steal his vehicle, which was parked nearby or even take the gun protruding from the holster.
Wahome was killed in his home in Kinoo a week ago while Regeru, Bwayo and Kuria were shot dead at an illegal roadblock in Kiserian two weeks ago.
Karugi and his son were shot dead in Kikuyu in a bizarre robbery incident while Morgan was killed in his bar in Wangige area last month.
Ngugi was killed on Monday in his house by four thugs who had knocked his door at dawn. The thugs went away without stealing anything.
Matheri is also wanted for shooting dead Muthee Ng’ethe in Gachie last August, which led to the torching of his family’s houses.
Police say he has also been mentioned in rape ordeals on women in the city and Kiambu.”*
*”/”*Lifted by Korir and published by African Press in Norway, apn, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525. source.standard.ke