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

Early in the morning on Tuesday, February 20, 2007, more than 100 police officers, including special agents, surrounded Matheri's second wife's house, and of her neighbours.

Matheri who was in the house with his bodyguard (and accomplice in crime), Elias Gathumbi Osama, were ordered to leave the house with their hands on their heads as a sign of surrender.

He didn't want to leave because he had the premonition the police would kill him rather than arrest him. 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 heads.

Simon Matheri

Simon Matheri

Once outside the house, his wife, and her neighbours, heard sounds of gunshots. Some minutes later, the media arrived. The Most Wanted gangster had been gunned down. The locals overjoyed at the news Matheri had been felled by police, gathered at the spot to witness, and ascertain whether the gunned down gangster was Matheri.

The police version of what ensued when the two gangsters left the house differed from the account narrated by the 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 laying dead on one side of his body; his hands handcuffed behind his back. If Matheri hadn't surrendered, as police claimed, why was his hands handcuffed?

According to a former Kenya Television Network's (KTN's) investigative team, Jicho Pevu, Matheri and his accomplice were arrested after obeying the order to surrender, and were 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 breaking into, and stealing, from houses of Gachea villagers where he hailed from.

Later, he targeted businesses in the capital, Nairobi. Stealing, raping, and killing, Matheri and his gang reigned terror both in his home village, and in 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 he had received payment from them.

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.

He was wanted by the police, among others, for

  • 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).
Police

Police

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 town, Kiambu County. The signal was picked up when he made 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. The police identified his location two hours later through 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 the 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. His location was placed at Athi River, situated 20kms from Nairobi.

At 12.00 a.m., the three forces surrounded his house before calling for a backup from Nairobi boss, Mr. Njue Njagi. More than 100 officers were sent at the location. They surrounded both the gangster's house and those of his 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 who reigned terror in the hearts of the people in the region, and beyond.

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

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

© 2022 Alianess Benny Njuguna

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