Face Mask Gang Minting Money in Nairobi CBD

  • Gang members pictured while committing a crime in Nairobi's Central Business District.
    Gang members pictured while committing a crime in Nairobi's Central Business District.
    File
  • Nairobi's Central Business District (CBD) is experiencing a new wave of terror orchestrated by a gang who wear face masks masquerading as police officers.

    According to victims, the gang operates in groups of 3 or 4 men donning protective face masks.

    They hover around vacant parking slots across the CBD where they lay in wait for motorists who step out of their vehicles without face masks.

    Once they spot a target, leaving their vehicle without a face mask, they swoop in like vultures and carry out their devious scheme.

    A social worker distributing face masks in Nairobi.
    A social worker distributing face masks in Nairobi.
    File

    Armed with handcuffs and donning oversized coats with a suspicious bulge, they surround their victims, harassing them for flouting Covid-19 containment measures.

    The gang then proceeds to ask for a bribe from victims, threatening to throw them in jail if they don't cooperate. 

    Over the last week, two motorist have reported encountering the gang and having to part with Ksh 500 just to escape their clasp.

    "I had just parked my car along Moi Avenue and was crossing the street to buy airtime when suddenly I was surrounded by three people," one of the victims narrated to Nation.

    "They did not introduce themselves, and for a moment I thought they were thugs," he added.

    These groups have also been spotted at popular bus stations where they prowl in search of passengers alighting without face masks.

    On May 13, Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai stated that it was a crime punishable by law to be caught violating Covid-19 containment measures prescribed by the Ministry of Health.

    “Users of public or private transport and public transport operators shall wear proper masks that must cover the mouth and nose. They should also maintain a physical distance of not less than a metre.

    “A person who commits an offence under these rules shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding Ksh 20,000 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or both," reads an excerpt from the Kenya Gazette Supplement No 41 penned by Health CS Mutahi Kagwe.

    Crimes within Nairobi's CBD are well documented, with a recent report revealing some of the most dangerous spots in the city.

    A police officer pictured at a crime scene.
    A police officer pictured at a crime scene.
    File