Businessman shot dead in Makongeni night ambush.

A file photo of James Ndung’u Gitau, a Makongeni trader who was slain by armed  motorbike thugs on Friday night.

Three armed men on Friday night shot and killed a prominent businessman in front of his 9-year old son at his shop in Thika’s Makongeni Phase 5 Estate.

55-year old James Ndung’u Gitau was accosted by the thugs suspected to be three in number at around 8:15pm as they were preparing to close down.

According to preliminary reports from eyewitnesses, two thugs stormed into the shop, one wielding a pistol and the other an AK-47 and ordered everyone who was inside to immediately lie down.

The one holding a pistol went straight to where the victim was while his colleague stayed vigil at the entrance. It is alleged that the trader fought him off and managed to wrestle him to the ground. It is at this juncture that his colleague stormed in and shot Ndung’u on his belly from behind, rescuing his colleague from his grip.

“We were just about five of us inside the shop. Myself, my husband, my son and two lady customers who were packing their shopping in preparation to leave,” narrated an already grief-stricken Joyce Wairimu, the deceased’s wife.
The shop where James Ndung'u operated from and where he met his death.

It is alleged that immediately they shot the father of two, they emptied the cashbox into a small polythene bag by before leaving, they saw another full of coins and abandoned their previous loot and dashed out with the coins.

“Immediately got out of the shop, the two thugs jumped onto a bodaboda and sped off towards Phase IV. They were immediately followed by another motorbike that was waiting outside. The second bike had only the rider,” said one of the neighbours who operates a butchery opposite the shop.

He said that earlier on he had seen those bikes packed near the shop but hadn’t given it a thought. He added that it seems the attackers had been monitoring the activities at the shop from a strategic position and only hit at the most opportune time.

When the dust had settled, neighbours rushed to assist the victim and took him to Thika Level 5 Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

His body has been preserved at General Kago Road Funeral Home.

Confirming the incident, Thika West OCPD Willy Simba said that the police were following crucial leads and it was just a matter of time before the culprits were apprehended. He appealed to anyone who might have any information that might lead to their arrests to bring it forth to his office.

Meanwhile, Makongeni residents have decried the runaway insecurity in the area following the spate of crime where several people have lost their lives in the hands of armed criminals.

They have pointed accusing fingers towards armed motorbike thugs who have been terrorising residents with impunity. They most affected are traders who at times end up being shot and wounded or even killed.


Most of these thugs, the residents said, operate from Matharao, Gachagi and Umoja slums with other having dens in Makongeni’s Phases 4, 5, 6. 7 and 8. Kisii and Kiganjo are also said to good hideouts for criminals due to their high population.



“Majority of the young men do not operate bodabodas during the day. That is when they are sound asleep and only begin work at around 8pm. During the wee hours of the night they wander around robbing people and breaking into houses and shops,” said one resident.

He added that they have mastered the police routine which has now become so evident that it has ended up according criminals a field day.

“The police need to go back to the drawing board and reinvent new ways to beat these criminals. Otherwise, the fight against crime will remain an exercise in futility if they continue with their old-fashioned patrols,” said one trader.

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