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Gas cylinders stolen from Raila company

Monday April 1 2013

Baffling night robbery at PM Odinga's family's gas cylinder company
STEPHEN MUDIARI | NATION Mr Hudson Chitala, technical manager at East Africa Spectre Limited, shows journalists around the company on April 01, 2013 after the theft.
STEPHEN MUDIARI | NATION Mr Hudson Chitala, technical manager at East Africa Spectre Limited, shows journalists around the company on April 01, 2013 after the theft.
By ZADOCK ANGIRA [email protected]

A company belonging to Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s family lost gas cylinders and motor vehicle parts worth Sh4 million to gangsters who broke into its premises in Nairobi.

The thieves stole 266 13-kilogramme cylinders and another 431 6-kilogramme cylinders from East Africa Spectre Limited on Mombasa Road.

They also vandalised vehicles within the compound and stole various motor vehicle parts.

The company’s chief security officer, Mr Caleb Radido, said when the day guards reported for duty, they found their night colleagues missing.

By Monday evening, the guards, from Lavington Security, had not been traced.

The gangsters had also stolen about 200 other cylinders but later off-loaded them next to the gate.

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“We suspect they left them after realising that they did not have the cylinder valves,” said Mr Radido.

Nairobi deputy police boss Moses Ombati said they were investigating the case.

He said the security company had furnished the police with full particulars of the two missing guards and detectives were hunting them down.

One of the day guards who reported for work in the morning said she tried to reach her colleagues on Sunday at around 10pm to alert them that she had forgotten something in the sentry box but none picked the calls. Their phones were later switched off.

The company, which manufactures cylinders and sells them to oil companies, is well-secured with a perimeter wall and electric fence.

Condemned raid

There were no indications of forceful entry and police suspect the gangsters may have colluded with the night guards.

The cylinders are suspected to have been carried away from the compound using at least two trucks.

The PM’s elder brother, Dr Oburu Oginga, who is the chairman of the family business, maintained that the incident was “a pure criminal act”. He asked Cord supporters not to read too much politics into the incident.

The Prime Minister’s former campaign manager, Mr Eliud Owalo, on Monday condemned the raid and appealed to the office of the Inspector-General of Police to move with speed in not only apprehending the culprits but also establishing the motive behind the act.

“We are already witnessing what may be interpreted as acts of intimidation and economic blackmail aimed at silencing political dissent reminiscent of the dark days of the 1980s where divergent political opinion was systematically vanquished by the state,” said Mr Owalo in a press statement.