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The Criminal Life of Simon Matheri Ikere, a Ruthless Kenyan Gangster, and a Contracted Killer

On the early morning of Tuesday, February 20, 2007, more than 100 police officers, including special agents, surrounded Matheri's wife's home and their neighbours.

Matheri who was in the house with his bodyguard (and accomplice in crime), Elias Gathumbi Osama, were ordered to surrender by leaving the house with their hands on their heads.

He didn't want to leave the house because he knew once he exited, he would be killed. However, his wife begged him to surrender for the sake of her and their six children. She also told him if he didn't surrender, the police would burn the house as they'd warned.

Heeding his wife's plea, and submitting to police' order to surrender, the two left the house with both of their hands on their head.

Simon Matheri

Simon Matheri

Outside the house, shots were heard. Some minutes later, the media arrived. The Most Wanted gangster was gunned down. The locals who had gathered at the spot Matheri was shot dead were overjoyed to receive the news of the death of the gangster. They scrambled to ascertain whether the felled gangster was Matheri.

The police version of what ensued between the two leaving the house differs from that of his wife. The police' version was Matheri left the house carrying an AK-47 riffle which prompted the police to fire back. His wife, on the other hand, claimed Matheri didn't emerge from the house with a gun.

A footage from media showed Matheri lying dead on one side, his hands handcuffed behind his back. If Matheri hadn't surrendered, as police claimed, why was his hands handcuffed?

According to former KTN's investigative team, Jicho Pevu, Matheri and his accomplice were arrested after having surrendered to the police, and questioned for thirty minutes.

A call from a senior officer leading the operation ordered the police to kill the two. The two were shot on the back of their heads as the senior officer listened through his phone. He congratulated the police for doing a good job, and ended the call.

Matheri's Early Life

Matheri was born in Gachie village, Kiambu County. In 1985, he began his formal education at Kihara Primary School. He was known as a calm, gentle, and humble boy.

He didn't complete his primary education. He dropped out of school, and shortly thereafter, after a short training, began his first job as a mechanic.

His Criminal Life

Matheri began his thuggery activities by stealing in the homes of Gachea villagers.

Later, he targeted businesses in the capital, Nairobi. Stealing, raping, and killing, Matheri and his gang reigned terror in his home village, and Nairobi.

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Aside from robbery, hijacking, and killing resulting from robbery and cartheft, Matheri also worked as a contractual killer. According to Jicho Pevu, his clients included senior police officers and businessmen. For every successful contracted killing, he was awarded Kshs. 500,000/=. Ironically, the businessmen who sought his services as a hitman would later be killed by him after receiving payment for his services.

His success in evading arrest, or being gunned down, is attributed to his cleverness, and tip-off from the police he colluded with.

On February 2007, police offered a reward of Kshs. 150,000 to anyone who would give information leading to his capture, whether alive or dead.

Police pinned 18 murders he committed, which included:

  • Attacking a petrol station's shop, and killing one person while injuring three others.
  • Killing Professor Job Bwayo, an African AIDS researcher (February, 2007).
  • Killing U.S. missionary, Lois Anderson, and her daughter, Zelda White (January 2007).

His Last Moments

The increased robberies, killings and rape led to the formation of a team consisting of three special forces: Special Crime and Prevention Unit, Flying Squad, and November Squad.

His first determined location on the eve of his death was at Kabati near Kenol, Thika. The signal was picked up while making a call while driving a rented car heading to Nairobi.

They lost his location when he changed his network line from the phone he's using to another mobile device. During that time when police lost the signal of his location, Matheri headed to Shauri Moyo where police suspected he stored his guns.

The police picked up the lost signal two hours later using his network line. The police informed their colleagues who were manning Mombasa road near City Kabanas to search every vehicle that passed through the barrier they'd placed at that spot.

Matheri didn't pass on Mombasa road. Instead, he changed his route and drove on North Airport road which was 50kms from where the police had placed a roadblock.

One hour later, the police determined his hideout from the signal received through a call he made at night. The signal was located at Athi River, situated 20kms from Nairobi.

At 12.00 am the three forces surrounded his house before calling for a backup from Nairobi boss, Njue Njagi. More than 100 officers were sent at the location. They surrounded both the gangster's house and those of neighbours before a command to surrender was uttered.

Whether Matheri and his accomplice had surrendered, or engaged the police in gunfight, didn't concern the public who had gathered to witness the death of a man whose terror reigned in several areas of the capital, and outside it.

Osama Kadogo, an accomplice of Matheri, committed suicide by hanging himself on a tree when he heard he, alongside 'M', had been killed.

Other accomplices were beaten, and their dead bodies burnt, including of the thug who hanged himself.

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