Jet-set gang arrested in plane over Sh18m heist

Sunday September 21 2014

The Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. A Mombasa-bound Kenya Airways flight Thursday evening was delayed for several hours after a standoff ensued when the crew insisted that Senator Wetang'ula must produce his ID.

The Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. A Mombasa-bound Kenya Airways flight Thursday evening was delayed for several hours after a standoff ensued when the crew insisted that Senator Wetang'ula must produce his ID. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP. 

By FRED MUKINDA
More by this Author

Flying Squad officers stormed a plane, pulled out four robbery suspects and recovered stolen cash at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) at the weekend.

The four men, among them an Administration Police officer, were suspected to have robbed Mombasa residents of more than Sh18 million in separate incidents before flying to Nairobi aboard a Jambo Jet plane.

Passengers in the aircraft waited for more than two hours as police screened them. During the screening, the officers found Sh400,000 in one of the suspect’s bags.

Kenya Airports Police Unit commandant Joseph ole Tito said the suspects were seized at about 6pm on Saturday.

“We arrested four people and detained them. We later handed them over to our colleagues in Mombasa because it is them who were pursuing the suspects,” said Mr Tito.

The airport in Nairobi is policed by officers from the Kenya Airports Authority and the Kenya Airports Police Unit. The two units are based at JKIA.

In Saturday’s operation, however, the Flying Squad officers detained the aircraft, frisked the passengers and searched their luggage.

Flying Squad commander Munga Nyale said the suspects were members of a gang that waylays bank customers who make large cash withdrawals.

NAIROBI BOUND

Police in Mombasa contacted their colleagues in Nairobi after a man was robbed of Sh800,000 he had withdrawn from a bank.
Investigations indicated that the suspects boarded a Nairobi-bound plane soon after the attack.

The suspects had earlier been linked to a robbery involving a cooperative society employee who was kidnapped on Nyerere Avenue after withdrawing Sh2 million from a bank.

Mombasa County police commander Robert Kitur on Sunday described the arrest of the four as “a major breakthrough”.

The robbers had booked into a hotel at Mtwapa, Kilifi.

Mr Kitur said the gang had, for some time, robbed people withdrawing cash from ATM machines and banks while posing as police officers.

Separately, police at JKIA are holding a 31-year-old Nigerian man over drug trafficking.

He was arrested after arriving from Pakistan at 6pm on Saturday. By yesterday, the man had emitted 15 pellets and police were expecting him to produce more.

Analysis at the Government Chemist will confirm the type of drugs he was carrying.