Former Mungiki leader Maina Njenga (centre) during the burial of his second wife Melisa Wairimu. She was killed in 2014, 5 years after Virginia Nyakio’s brutal murderA few miles north of Meru Town, there’s an area with established dairy and horticultural farms that enjoys good rainfall all year round. This area is known as Ruiri – quite nondescript, neither here nor there when it comes to national news.
However, the happenings of August 2008 had the sleepy Ruiri village trending, on a global scale.
In August 2008, one of the country’s most sensational whistleblowers met his death in a hail of bullets in an obvious assassination, outside a safe house in Nairobi.
The whistleblower, police officer Bernard Kiriinya, was aged 43 years and at the prime of his career.
Kiriinya met his death a few months after giving his testimony to a Human Rights Body affiliated with the UN, in which he chilling details a myriad of extra-judicial deaths in the hands of his former squad.
A few years prior, Nairobi had fallen into the grip of an outlawed sect, Mungiki – a brainchild of Maina Njenga (Chairman), and Ndura Waruinge (Treasurer). At the time, the Internal Security docket was headed by John Michuki, a no-nonsense minister in the Kibaki government.
The police force was headed by Hussein Ali – the military man to lead an ambiguous police force. It was a good match.
To nip the rapidly-growing Mungiki sect in the bud, Michuki allegedly commissioned a special squad called Kwekwe Squad.
Whistleblower Kiriinya had then been attached as a driver to Special Crime Investigations Unit at CID HQs, Nairobi. Between 2002 and 2007. He had served in various departments, often as a personal driver to several senior police commissioners.
In 2007, As fate would have it, Kiriinya was attached to The Special Crimes Unit – specifically assigned to Kwekwe Squad.
By the time of Nyakio’s execution, most team members had received promotions as part of a reward scheme, that also involved hard cash which was dished out after every mission.
It’s under this assignment that Kiriinya was privy to the country’s most notorious state-sanctioned executions. In total, he narrates in detail over 20 murders – but, in reflection, one execution lingered most on his conscience.
The execution of Virginia Nyakio, beloved wife to Mungiki sect leader, Maina Njenga – and her driver, Ndungu son of Wagacha, along Lang’ata Road.
On the fateful day, the team was driving in three vehicles, Kiriinya in a Mitsubishi Gallant. They managed to block Nyakio’s car – a RAV 4 – at the roundabout of Madaraka Estate along Lang’ata Road.
They pulled them out of the RAV 4, bundled them into one of their cars and drove towards Ngong Forest, as was their modus operandi. One of the squad members took control of Nyakio’s RAV 4 and trailed them.
Deep in Ngong Forest, a systemic, vicious, question session was put in play. Nothing in the CIA-torture handbook was spared – burning with cigarette ends, pulling out toenails with pliers. Her driver, Ndungu, had a nail drilled through his left foot.
Kiriinya, in his confession, revealed that Njenga’s wife wasn’t actually raped – something more horrendous happened. Someone on the team had fetched an empty beer bottle from the car – and this was inserted into her private parts
After an afternoon in the woods, they drove their captives to Lukenya, in Machakos – in a convoy of four vehicles, including Nyakio’s silver RAV 4.
At Emali, they took the road to Loitoktok – and as luck would have it, they met an Administration Police roadblock. They were stopped and identified themselves as police officers from Nairobi on official duties.
After a few miles, the team stopped. They vandalized Nyakio’s RAV 4 – pulling out the audio system, spare wheel and side mirrors. They then set the vehicle on fire.
At this point, Kiriinya was leaning against his car, the Gallant, around 20 metres away. The captives were kneeling near the burning vehicle, and visibly smarting from the heat.
Suddenly, the whistleblower saw the team descend on the kneeling captives – they repeatedly slashed poor Nyakio on the head, till she slumped forward, face first.
The team set upon the driver with rungus, till he breathed his last – head bashed in.
The two bodies were stashed into the boot of one of the waiting government vehicles, and they turned back towards Emali.
At the very roadblock, the officers manning it noticed that the return convoy missed the RAV 4. The team leader told them that the car had been under police escort to Tanzania.
The following day, some Maasai herdsmen discovered the burnt and vandalized vehicle. They reported to the Administration Police officers at the very roadblock.
Upon visiting the scene, they were able to recognize the vehicle as the one that had been under the escort of the purported Nairobi Police officers the previous day.
Meanwhile, the executioners drove back to Nairobi, the two bodies in the boot. Towards daybreak, they took Thika Road. They drove to Gatundu, a place called Gakoe – and dumped the bodies in some overgrown grass by the roadside.
The team drove back to Nairobi and reported to a provincial police boss. They also reported to a senior administrator at CID headquarters.
A regional police boss expressed displeasure at the messy turn of events but they managed to convince him later – saying that they would cook up an explainer story.
They indeed came up with a cock-and-bull story about Mungiki followers killing each other after some kind of fallout.
The created explanation reached then Commissioner of Police Major-General Mohammed Hussein Ali who released the same report to the public through a pretentious press release.
Nyakio’s burial in Kitengela a fortnight later was a tense standoff between a heavily-armed GSU contingent and irate members of the public, most of them perceived to be Mungiki adherents.
This is an excerpt from the deceased’s driver, policeman Bernard Kiriinya’s signed testimony to the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR). He was killed while under the commission’s witness protection unit.
Sourced from Kenyans.co.ke