Just as five men were about to drive out of a petrol station in Nairobi’s Ngara area Thursday, police arrived and sprayed the vehicle with bullets.
A few minutes of gunfire later, four of the men lay dead. A fifth escaped.
Police later explained that the men gunned down at a Total petrol station at 10am were “dangerous criminals” on a mission to commit a robbery in another part of the city.
Nairobi police chief Benson Kibui said: “Our officers recovered a Ceska and a Browning pistols loaded with 17 rounds of ammunition. We also took the vehicle we suspect was stolen.”
A witness said a police officers frisked the bodies and found two pairs of handcuffs.
Other witnesses said police officers in plain clothes arrived in two Prados and a saloon car all fitted with private registration numbers.
The Prados sandwiched the suspects’ car at the exit of the petrol station while officers in the third car jumped out with guns.
Separately, a man was shot dead by police in the city’s Githurai Kimbo area at around 5am.
Mr Kibui said the man was part of a four-man gang that had waylaid a pedestrian and robbed him of Sh2,000 and a mobile phone.
“The man had yelled for help when they confronted him and lucky enough, there were officers nearby. A homemade pistol and the phone were recovered.”
His accomplices escaped.
In another crime incident, police have identified one of the men they shot dead in Umoja Innercore last week as Ibrahim Maina alias Ibra, one of the city’s “wanted criminals”.
Two other men were killed during the Friday night incident in which a motorist, Mr Felix Mutua, was rescued.
Six gunmen had carjacked Mr Mutua in Tena at 10pm. One of the men who survived the shooting later succumbed to bullet injuries at his home in California estate the following morning.