A report by the National Crime Research Centre, a state agency under the Interior ministry, indicates that the number of gangs has risen from 33 in 2010 to 326 by 2017.
2020 has seen a surge in crime orchestrated by these gangs comprised of members living and going about their everyday business in some of Nairobi's low-income estates.
Kenyans.co.ke combed through police and witness reports to establish the specific neighborhoods in Nairobi where these individuals live and operate.Gang members pictured while committing a crime in Nairobi's Central Business District.File
The estate located along Kangundo road is famous for its gangs that operate with reckless abandon.
It is run by 3 gangs: Gaza, Yakuza and Smarter.
Gaza partly controls the 42 Brothers Gang known to operate in Nairobi's CBD where they stage robberies at highly populated bus stops and streets before retreating to their 'safe-haven' in Kayole.
Yakuza and Smarter on the other hand control the dumpsite and charge those who dump waste there.
The Yakuza are also said to specialise in high-end crimes such as high-way and bank robberies.
The most feared areas within the highly populated and low-income neighborhood are Kayole Corner, Masimba, Patanisho and part of Soweto.
On June 15, 2019, a chilling video of a Gaza gang leader bragging of his criminal exploits and success went viral.Members of the Gaza gang surrender to police in Njiru.File
The gang leader, whom police have since identified as Seba alias Johnnie, was caught on video bragging that he is still the “king” of crime and that there is nothing the police can do.
The Gaza gang is believed to be behind a spate of killings and robberies in Eastlands, but little is known about its operations.
Its members use swords, knives and guns as tools of their illegal trade.
This group that traces its name to Jamaican dancehall artist Adidja Palmer alias Vybz Kartel (currently in jail and charged with murder) that is believed to have birthed the two other gangs.
A publicised demonstration by residents of Ngecha village in Limuru in September 2018, over the presence of Gaza gang in the area opened the lid on the group’s growing presence in Nairobi’s satellite towns.
Gaza gang, long associated with crime in Eastlands, Nairobi, seems to be spreading its tentacles to neighboring counties of Kiambu, Nakuru and Murang'a.
From its initial base in Dandora and Kayole Estates, the group has spread to Mathare and Umoja Estates in Eastlands, and to Kasarani, Santon area, Mwiki and Kahawa area in the outskirts of Nairobi.
It is believed that some of the top members of the group are seeking safe havens outside Nairobi to evade police dragnets.
In a chilling testimony, a gang member narrated how they get hold of firearms used during their operations.
“We have these retailers (agents) who sell clothes, shoes and perfumes in the estates. You just ask them if they have ‘mguu wa kuku’ (chicken leg), if they do you get it from them,” he told the media.A building in Kayole estate, Nairobi.
Other Nairobi Estates
Mungiki gang is active in Kasarani, Mwiki, Lunga Lunga, Laini-Saba, Mukuru, Dandora and Maili-Saba. Siafu calls the shots in parts of Kibra, Dandora and Lang’ata while Superpower reigns in Eastleigh with its offshoot, Superpower Boys, wreaking havoc in Komarock, Saika and Mowlem.
Nyuki stings in Kabiru, Soko Mjinga and along Gitanga Road. Baghdad gang operates in Mathare and Ruaraka while Usiku Sacco has set base in Tassia and Mukuru Kwa Njenga. Portmore’s stronghold is around Saika and Obama.
Apana Tambua (Majengo), Sitaki Kujua (Majengo), Kapedo (Kangemi), Mgenge (Korogocho), Taka Taka (Zimmerman), Kamjeshi (Maringo), Kamkunji Pressure Group (Kibra) and Taliban (Raila village). Mugumoini Youth Chapter and Mzuka terrorize sprawling Kibra.
To these gangs, anything goes as long as it presents an opportunity to make some quick cash. With an average of 30 members aged 14-26, their specialties are muggings, carjackings, shoplifting, prostitution and rape. Guns, machetes, knives, axes and clubs are their weapons of choice.
More often than not, gang members end up dead either by public lynching or at the hands of the police.
Some have confessed to attacking and killing police so as to steal their guns and carry out more attacks within the city, leading to police raids in their neighborhoods, often resulting in deaths.
A reformed member of a teen gang that used to operate in Dandora confessed to having joined the gang because of peer pressure.
"I joined the gang because all my friends were in it and I did not want to be looked at as a snitch because I knew what they were doing," he says.
Because of their young age, they would mainly waylay mama mbogas and snatch their handbags.
"One day, we were not lucky; the mama mboga we had targeted did not let go of her bag. She held on to it while screaming, attracting passers-by. In no time, we had been surrounded. I only escaped because of my short stature as they assumed I was not part of the gang. I watched helplessly as my friends were lynched," he recounted.
Kayole South has lost more than 1,000 youths while a sizeable number have just disappeared.
The National Crime Research Centre report recommends that there should be a routine publication of names of criminal gangs, organised crime kingpins, politicians, business people and wayward government officials who support the groups, as well as continuous and effective mapping and surveillance of organised criminal group hotspot.A police operation underway in Kayole.File
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