Coop Bank

I felt like sharing the nasty experience I had yesterday in Nairobi – my 1-hour ordeal in the hands of armed criminals in Nairobi!

Yesterday, 10th at around 9.20am I was among the first customers to be served at Co-op Bank – City Hall branch; at around quarter to 10 I visited a Forex Bureau housed just across at EcoTowers then crossed to Gulf African Bank along Kenyatta Avenue. From there I walked to Co-op Bank again but this time around the one along Kimathi Street. At around 11.30am I got into Turkeys Beba Beba and did some shopping. Thereafter I visited Smart Times outlet just after Family Bank, opposite Fire station along Tom Mboya. I walked out of that outlet making a phone call at around 11.45am.

Here is where it all started, a white car – something close to a Toyota Noah was parked right outside Smart Times, as I was crossing the road a man seated in the co-driver’s seat signaled me, he said “ sisi ni polisi”, he was holding a walkie talkie. I just looked at him and mentioned no word like I hadn’t heard him, another one was seated in the driver’s seated, he said “unaitwa na mkubwa na unakata”.

I hastened my pace trying to walk past them, no word still. I attempted to return to the shop but right ahead of me when I turned, along the foot path between Tuskeys Beba Beba and Smart Times, 3 men emerged – heavily built and in dark suits, pounced on me – one slapped my face and 2 held me by my trouser and legs hanging– all at the same time. I got confused. All over sudden I found myself shouting “wezi wezi”.

The place was crowded, public looking at us , none uttering a word – I tried struggling with them for slightly more than a minute, at that time I noticed some blood stains on my sleeves, I realized I was already handcuffed and as I was struggling the gadget was tightening round my ankle and bruising them in the process. One man among the 3 in suit said just one sentense “unaongeleshwa na polisi na hujali”. I found myself bundled into the back seat and two men got in. Earlier there were 2 already inside.

The next time I got back to my senses, there was a cold metal chain round my neck, I was on the floor of the car and I could feel them stepping on my back, blows at the back of my head and there was a blood stained knife on the floor close to my face. I did not utter any word again, and the reason as to why I was being beaten was because “kwanini unaita wakubwa wezi, leo utaona Kenya tunafanyia wezi”.

It is at this point that I felt a chapter of life was closing on me. I made a brief prayer for less than 30 seconds – mine to God was “please let it be according to thy will but if I were to chose please God give me a chance to live”. All these was happening as the vehicle was moving, all I could tell is that we were nomore on a tarmac road, we went up hill, went down valleys and did this for slightly over an hour. I was told to declare all I had, which I did. Unfortunately they were not satisfied, they literally reached everywhere around my body where they thought I could have kept cash. They actually gave me an account of my movement right from the time I got into Co-op Bank – City Hall at 9.20am, the amount of money I handled , respective currencies and the timings. Unfortunately, at the time I only had around Ksh 1200 and USD 150.

There were a number of punches and blows to have me explain where I had taken the balance of the USDs I had earlier handled. They had exact figures. At one point I was told to close my eyes but open my mouth, right inside my mouth he placed a gun and threatened to shoot in under a minute if I didn’t tell where the money was. That was the first time in my life seeing a gun at close range. All I maintained is that I had the money but I deposited it to a relative account. At another point I was told to chose either to be injected or be shot. I wasn’t told what injection it was but he had a syringe and a needle plus a small bottle containing a white liquid, I guess that was the medicine. All I maintained is that I had the money but I deposited it to a relatives account. I added by pleading with them to take everything but spare me a life as I got a young and helpless family.

When I mentioned the second part of the statement, one asked if I have ever been castrated and threatened to do it, if not. His colleague intervened; in its place he kicked my ear hard. I temporarily lost conscience. I was also ordered to make a call to my wife and mum, and advice them that this is the last time they were hearing from me. In a flash, it came to mind that I would cause more panic than what I was already in and so found myself telling that that the two do not have phones but my brother has, and so when he adviced that I give my bro a call, I gave him my number that was in service but lies in the house which after he fed into his phone, he chose not to dial. Meanwhile they were ransacking my bag, at one point he asked why I would come all the way from my village to come and cause chaos in Nairobi. For this question, a person was put thru’ on phone so that I could provide an answer, I gave a brief response – am here just trying to make a living, I own nothing here and am almost giving up soon returning home.

The story is long but I had intended to pass a message and may be learn a lesson about this city we live in. In brief, I was finally ordered to remove my socks then return the shoes on, I was then dropped in the middle of nowhere, ordered to lie facing down on grass, told not to raise my head for 2 minutes else I would lose it…after the two minutes, I realized I was near a river bank – the car had sped off, and it took me close to five minutes to tell which direction to take but when I finally chose I walked for over 500m along the meandering rough near one-way road, met not even a single species of animal kingdom. I chose to return and take the opposite direction , walked for over a 500m from where I was dropped, its then that I met a first person on a motor bike, I flagged him down and he slowed down but chose to speed off just before coming to a halt. I did around 200 more meters and met some young man who claimed to be a University student who told me that I would need to walk another kilometer to get to Kikuyu Town.

All in all, I lost my phones, socks, around Ksh 1200, USD 150, shoe polish, washing powder, Turkeys smart card and baby pampers. They however spared my academic certificates that I had plus I got 40 bob coin in my pocket, and some green and fresh leaves in my bag that I didn’t have earlier.

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