In the dark underbelly of Kenya’s law enforcement history, a notorious covert police unit called the Kwekwe Squad once operated with impunity. For years, this squad, known for its ruthlessness, left behind a trail of fear, intimidation, and unanswered questions. In this article, we will delve into the chilling story of the Kwekwe Squad and how they were eventually brought down by a mysterious force known as “Dark Shadow.”
The Rise of the Kwekwe Squad
The Kwekwe Squad earned its reputation as one of the most feared police units in Kenya. During its heyday, it was often compared to deadly units in other countries, and its members were known for their uncommon zeal when confronting the Mungiki menace, a criminal organization that terrorized the country. To the victims of the Mungiki sect, Kwekwe officers were considered heroes, but for those on their hit list, they were nothing short of ruthless executioners.
A Trail of Death and Disappearances
The Kwekwe Squad’s legacy was a chilling one, marked by a shocking number of deaths and disappearances. Investigations by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) linked the squad to nearly 500 bodies found in various mortuaries across Kenya between June and October 2007. Among the victims were a police officer and two soldiers.
The Oscar Foundation, an NGO, documented over 8,000 cases of forced disappearances, arbitrary arrests, and extrajudicial executions between July 2002 and September 2008, all attributed to the squad. Tragically, the NGO’s founder, Oscar King’ara, and his associate, Paul Oulu, were brutally executed in broad daylight, allegedly by members of the Kwekwe Squad.
The Fall from Grace
Despite their notoriety, the Kwekwe Squad’s reign of terror eventually came to an end. Some of its members faced charges, suspension, or mysterious deaths. The true identities and number of squad members were never officially revealed, but press interviews suggested a unit of approximately 10 to 12 officers, many known by their nicknames.
Chief Inspector Zebedeo Maina, the unit’s head, was shot dead in 2013 while pursuing kidnappers in Kitui Town. At least two of Maina’s drivers died under mysterious circumstances, and Constable Justus Wendot, accused of killing Maina, has denied the charges, claiming a cover-up.
In 2015, Kimatu Kyule Kisoloki, the director of criminal investigations in Dadaab, turned his gun on himself in his own house. The circumstances surrounding his death remained unclear.
Sergeant Gitahi, shot during an operation against Mungiki in 2008, died under suspicious circumstances. Investigations into his death were hindered by the failure to record his death at the local police station. Tragically, Gitahi’s wife, who had vowed to seek justice, was also found dead under unclear circumstances.
The Demise of Betrayers
Those who dared to expose the Kwekwe Squad’s activities met tragic fates. Bernard Kiriinya, who had served as Chief Inspector Maina’s official driver, was gunned down by squad members outside Sarit Centre in 2013 after revealing their secrets.
Chief Inspector John Kariuki, who survived two attempts to poison him, mysteriously passed away in his sleep in 2011. Reche Nyagah, a teetotaler and former head of the Flying Squad, developed unexplained liver complications and died during treatment.
Richard Katola, who was rushed to the hospital for suspected poisoning, suffered a stroke and remained hospitalized until his death.
The Disbandment of the Kwekwe Squad
Following public outcry in November 2009, the then-Minister of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security, Prof George Saitoti, announced that the Kwekwe Squad had been disbanded. This marked the end of an era, but the questions surrounding their actions and their mysterious fates still linger.
The story of the Kwekwe Squad is a chilling and haunting chapter in Kenya’s law enforcement history. Dark Shadow, a mysterious force that tracked these ruthless killers, played a role in their ultimate downfall. While the squad has been officially disbanded, the full truth about their activities and the identities of their members remains shrouded in darkness, leaving behind a legacy of fear and unanswered questions.