Why ‘police officer’ was sprayed with 100 bullets

The late Wilson Mwangi Munene

When his car was sprayed with bullets on Thika superhighway in Nairobi last month, Kenyans wondered who wanted Wilson Mwangi Munene dead so badly.

While those who knew him all along thought Munene was a double agent, police clarified he was one of the most wanted criminals, a gang lord who impersonated cops before his cover was blown.

Munene, police told The Nairobian, was the godfather of city carjackers and operated from a rented apartment within Kasarani estate in Nairobi.

The 33-year-old ran an organized crime syndicated while leading a double life, which eventually caught up with him in a well-planned execution that bore hallmarks of either police or gangsters out on a revenge mission, following a drive-by shooting along the busy Thika superhighway.

The Mercedes belonging to Munene, the father of a two-year-old, was sprayed with close to 100 bullets as he drove to Nairobi. He was ambushed near Vincentian Retreat Prayer Centre, which is a short distance from Thika Town.

Munene was reportedly waylaid by three men in hoodies, and who were driving a black vehicle. His Mercedes was side to have veered off the road under a hail of bullets, whose impact nearly yanked off the passenger seat. The number of bullets was a clear indication Munene was not meant to survive.

Nothing was stolen from his car, but his ID and ATM cards were missing in the wallet.

Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss George Kintotiu told The Nairobian that Munene, a gang leader, was eliminated by fellow criminals who felt betrayed by his modus operandi.

According to Kinoti, Munene’s goose was cooked when criminals discovered he was a fake cop.

The DCI boss says his other life was exposed after it was established that he was involved in the theft of a car within Nairobi’s Kasarani area.

“His partners in crime were shocked to learn that the man they knew as a cop was actually a thief,” claims Kinoti, adding that preliminary investigations indicate that Munene’s death was a revenge mission by criminals.

The DCI boss says that Munene’s gang killed criminals who refuse to give him money. “He would then lie to other criminals that the victims were gunned down by police,” says Kinoti.

There have been claims that Munene, who loved shooting pool in pubs along Thika superhighway, closely worked with police officers in Kasarani and undercover officers at Nairobi area. This earned him the nickname, ‘Mwangi CID’. Others thought Munene was a businessman, while some quarters described him as a private detective.

Munene's bullet-riddled car

Police officers who arrived at the scene of his murder called his relatives after retrieving her number from his phone. It’s however not clear how police accessed the password that protected his phone.

Moments after his death, images on his phone showing him clad in police uniform while holding a gun were deleted, The Nairobian was reliably told.  

Those who knew him painted a picture of a man who felt he was living on borrowed time. But it was not immediately established whether the images were erased by the killers or police officers who were first to arrive at the scene of the killing.

Munene was a criminal who extorted carjackers while posing as a police officer, says Kinoti, adding that the slain gangster at times ordered his gang to kill criminals who failed to share with him proceeds of their stolen vehicles loot.

Munene was said to receive money from the criminals, promising to use his “police position” to protect them, according to police.

“For any robbery committed or vehicle stolen, he would receive a cut,” says Kinoti adding that Munene had full knowledge of most crimes around the city and its environs.

An officer who spoke to The Nairobian on condition of anonymity, said the man must have paid for his sins – taking money from both sides.

“I understand he used to receive money from officers, aswell as criminals. There is a possibility that one side wanted him out of the picture. It is obvious from the shooting that the intention was to eliminate him,” revealed the officer.

Kinoti says Munene had perfected the art of deceit and “criminals who did not part with money after committing crimes faced threats of either being exposed to police or elimination,” explained Kinoti.  

Before his death, Munene reportedly erased photos from his social media, fearing they could be used to trace him.

A senior police officer investigating the shooting was cagey on whether Munene was an informer or a criminal. The officer said they had narrowed down on his killers, whom they claimed had fled the country and were either hiding in neighbouring Tanzania or Uganda.

Detectives have obtained a call log from one of the mobile service providers and “the record of phone calls and their details will help us know the kind of person he was,” said the officer.

Munene had allegedly confided to an acquaintance that some cops had cautioned him to be careful, warning him that his days were numbered.

Criminals were also not particularly happy after discovering that he was sharing some of their confidential with cops.