- Thugs operating in Jericho estate claimed they use charms to confuse their target
- The concoction also allegedly blinds police officers out to arrest or gun them down for perpetrating crimes
- There had been several complaints where known criminals are arrested only to be set free in unclear circumstances
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Major cities like Nairobi and Mombasa are prone to criminal activities due to high population, poverty and other social challenges.
Criminal activities range from muggings, pickpocketing and armed robberies with criminals terrorising residents in matatus, M-Pesa shops, other business premises and even homes.
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A YEN.com.gh investigation established that some criminals age gracefully without being arrested or gunned down by hawk-eyed and vigilant police officers like their counterparts who are either felled or arrested and charged.
We caught up with one self-confessed pickpocket in Nairobi’s Jericho area who spoke on anonymity grounds.
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Denno (not his real name), said poverty pushed him to the dark art of pickpocketing when he was 16 years old after dropping out of school for lack of fees.
“I dropped out of school after finishing primary education and never enrolled in high school. I was introduced into pickpocketing by my friends who were professionals in the business. Now I'm 30 years old still doing the same profession,” said Denno.
He said to survive without being busted by his targets, the friends who introduced him to the trade linked him up with a sorcerer who would give him charms he used as protection against arrest or even mob attacks.
The charms also confuse their targets shortly after they greet them.
“The concoction given to us by the sorcerer is effective. When you greet your target they become free, cooperative and willingly surrender their valuables to you without anyone suspecting,” he said.
Without batting an eyelid, he defended his trade, saying he never hurts anyone in the process of making his living.
“There are smarter ways of doing things. The charms work by smearing the concoction on ones hands before greeting the target. Sometimes you put the concoction in your mouth and when you speak to the target they become cooperative and act as your friends. This way they help you even get access to their bank accounts,” Denno narrated.
Mandevu, another Jericho resident involved in swindling people, said it was impossible to steal from people without such protection.
“We are being hunted like animals day and night by people and police officers and we need protection. The charm keeps us safe in many ways,” he claimed.
According to Mandevu, the charms not only confuse targets but also police officers who are out to arrest or gun them down for perpetrating crime.
“Have you ever had of someone killed for mistaken identity? That is what charm does. Even when the security people search for you they cannot see you. They see someone else and mistake them with you hence arrest or even shoot them,” he said.
Mandevu also said during incidents where police officers exchange fire with robbers, most thugs often got away because they were protected by the charms.
There have been several complaints where known criminals are arrested only to be set free in unclear circumstances.
Though many people attributed this to bribery and corruption, Mandevus says it is all the work of kifumba macho (blinding charm).
“When arrested, the complainants fail to recognise suspects during the identification parade and this makes it hard for officers to proceed with charging them,” he explained.
When we asked where they usually got these services, they remained adamant, saying revealing their source would make the charms powerless.
Nancy Kili (also not her real name) narrated how she went to a nearby police station to secure the release of her brother and encountered an incident where a robbery with violence suspect had gone missing mysteriously.
“When I paid for my brother’s bail, his name was called but he took long to come out of the cells. The police who had gone to look for my brother found him but noticed the other hardcore suspect was missing,” she said.
The situation worked against Kili as some police officers threatened to press charges against her brother because they shared the cell and had not raised alarm when the cellmate went missing.
“The officer manning the Occurrence Book (OB) desk was horrified. He threatened to place robbery with violence charges against my brother. He accused him of delaying to come out of the cell thus allowing the other suspect to escape,” she said.
Kili said the incident that happened seven years ago made his brother who had been arrested for being drunk and disorderly end up serving a seven-year sentence for armed robbery.
“Those who were around at that time of the incident kept saying that was ‘kifumba macho'. They couldn’t understand how that could happen but the police officers had to do what they had to do because they would be accused of being bribed to set an armed robbery suspect free,” she said.
We spoke to one of the police officers concerning the witchcraft narrative criminals apply but he dismissed it saying it was only a matter of time for every law breaker to be arrested and pay for their sins.
He said when the proverbial 40th day arrives, the suspects do not survive.
“They can deceive citizens with their charms. Quite a number of criminals have been shot dead with charms tied on their waists. If the charms had worked they would be alive,” said the officer from Shauri Moyo police station.
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