Police gun down husband of city’s ‘prettiest robber’

Monday August 21 2017

Mwaniki, famously known as Mwane Sparta (left), and Claire Njoki Kibia,

Mwaniki, famously known as Mwane Sparta (left), and Claire Njoki Kibia, both deceased. They were said to be members of the dreaded Gaza Boys. FILE PHOTO | COURTESY 

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Police officers in Kiambu County have killed the widower of robber Claire Njoki Kibia, who was also shot dead four months ago.

Claire, who was christened “Nairobi’s prettiest thug”, was gunned down in May alongside her four accomplices in Kayole Estate, Nairobi County.

Her husband Mwaniki, famously known as Mwane Sparta, was shot dead on Sunday at Witeithie Estate in Ruiru, off the Thika Superhighway, alongside another suspect identified as Willis after a two-hour shootout with police officers.

Police seized from the duo an AK-47 rifle, a box containing about 20 rounds of 9mm bullets and a magazine, as well as rolls of bhang.

During the shootout, a civilian was injured.

On Monday, Nairobi Police Commander Japheth Koome confirmed the fatal shooting of Mwaniki and said he was one of the most dangerous criminals in the city.

Willis was believed to be the gang’s commander.

“There was a shootout in Ruiru and I can indeed confirm that the suspect, who was shot dead, is the husband of the female robber,” Mr Koome said.

The two gunmen are believed to be part of a five-member gang from Kayole that killed two police officers who were on patrol in Kiambu last week on Friday.

The thugs took an AK-47 rifle from the officers before fleeing.

The gunmen, who were riding on motorcycles, ambushed the two officers attached to the Kibichoi Police Station and sprayed them with bullets.

In the Sunday incident, police trailed the five-member gang to their hideout in Witeithie following a tip from the public, according to Kiambu County Police Commander Adiel Njagi Nyange.

Mr Nyange said as the officers prepared to raid the premises, some of the criminals realised their presence and began firing while fleeing.

“As the police were approaching the premises, the gangsters realised that the officers were almost surrounding them and, because the criminals know the officers, they identified them and immediately started firing at them,” Mr Nyange, who was accompanied by Kayole OCPD Joseph Gichangi, said.

 A fierce shootout ensued, leaving two of the gunmen dead.

One of the gunmen, who escaped with injuries, tried to seek refuge in a neighbouring house, where a male occupant resisted.

The criminal shot the man before fleeing.

Mr Nyange however said the victim was out of danger.

The other three gunmen are believed to have escaped towards the Kiandutu slums outside Thika Town.

Mr Nyange said they had deployed more officers to pursue them.

Immediately after the shooting of Mwaniki, a mysterious social media user going by the name ‘Hessy wa Dandora' — who is widely believed to be an undercover police officer — posted a picture of the bodies of Mwaniki and Willis.

Hayawi hayawi huwa (finally), Mwani na Willis are with their ancestors right now.

"Mwaniki killed police officers in Kayole na akajifanya ati anajua sana ati Ruiru ndio mafichoni,” he captioned the photo, meaning: Mwaniki and Willis had killed several police officers in Kayole and went to hide in Ruiru but they are finally ‘with their ancestors’ (dead).

Police have constantly sent a warning to the public cautioning them that Mwaniki was armed, dangerous and did not hesitate to shoot at the slightest provocation.

Following the shooting of Claire, during which a Beretta pistol was seized from her, Mr Koome issued a circular saying two other suspects escaped from the scene at Lower Chokaa in Ruai, on Kangundo Road.

He identified one of the suspects as Mwaniki and profiled him as an elusive criminal who was behind the murder of several police officers.

Ever since Claire was gunned down, the mysterious ‘Hessy wa Dandora’ — who also goes by the names ‘Hessy wa Kayole’ and ‘Hessy wa Huruma’, has been warning Mwaniki and other suspects to leave the life of crime or face consequences.

‘Hessy’ fingered Claire and Mwaniki as members of the dreaded Gaza Boys, a gang that operates in Kayole and other parts of the city’s Eastlands section.

Besides profiling him as a trigger-happy gangster, the police also said Mwaniki had killed other members of his gang following deals gone sour and when he suspected them of having an affair with Claire.

An officer privy to the investigations said Mwaniki used to work as a matatu conductor.

The officer suspected that the criminal could access police communication, which helped him to escape from officers trailing him.

Unconfirmed reports indicated that he once served in the paramilitary General Service Unit (GSU) of Kenya Police Service.