Slum millionaire George Maina has been identified as the ring leader of a seven-man gang killed by police on Monday in an attempted robbery at a Nairobi soft drink store.
The 32-year-old, the police say is a well known criminal in the police watch list, but also a popular and wealthy landlord in Nairobi’s Mukuru kwa Njenga slums.
Police said Maina was the man who was armed with a pistol and was manning the gates while his accomplices stormed the warehouse and stole goods worth millions of shillings.
Nairobi DCI chief Ireri Kamwende who said Maina was in the police watch list said investigators were yet to establish if Maina had any criminal cases pending in court.
Maina is said to be the owner of a Mitsubishi canter that the police claim to have found at the yard of Softa godowns in Industrial area and which the criminals were using to load their stolen goods.
A police report from Industrial area police station to vigilance house on the incident , stated that police officers on patrol were informed of a robbery at the godown and rushed to the scene where they were confronted by a lone gun man who shot at the policemen.
The report stated that the officers shot and killed the lone gun man and proceeded into the warehouse where they encountered another group of men armed with crude weapons including machettes , claw bars , pangas and axes and toy pistol.
The report does not however state the number of crude weapons or if each of the killed men was armed and attempted to attack police officers.
The police version of events was yesterday heavily discounted by security guards manning an adjacent building and who claimed to have witnessed the gun drama.
The guards who spoke on condition of anonymity said a group of five police officers who seem to have had prior information of a planned robbery were deployed to the godown well before 8 pm.
They were in civilian uniforms, disguising as watchem with shukas and armed with Ak 47s and others with pistols.
“As soon as the gang stormed in , the officers pounced on them and shot them” said a guard who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The guard claimed the men were rounded up in one corner and shot by the policemen.
Among the things the suspects are listed in the police report to have robbed include gas cylinders. Police, based on their informers , identified other suspects as Kyalo, Michael and Yohana Karanja alias crew while three others were yet to be identified by last evening.
Investigators have also taken the killed mens fingerprints for official identification.
At the city mortury ,.the killed men were booked as uknown. A closer look at the bodies revealed almost a similar pattern of gunshots.
All them men had multiple gunshot wounds on either the head or on their back an indication that they may have been killed while either running or lying on their stomach.
This seems to corroborate the account of the security guards who claimed the men were shot while lying down.