The Buruburu firefight: So do we all agree an extrajudicial death sentence served justice?

Criminals do not die by the hands of the law; they die by the hands of other men. – George Bernard Shaw

I’m still shaken. I was a witness to the shootout between gunmen and policemen in Outering and Buruburu.

I saw the lady who was caught in the line of fire lying on the ground bleeding from her chest. She died.

I saw the two gangsters lying, dying on Kang’undo Road, one was twitching. He was shot again.

The police officer who was shot and died was a personal friend to me and I feel his loss deeply. I had shared a beer with him on several occasions and he had told me of his future plans, plans that have now been shattered by a shot to the head from someone I’m told was known to him.

I drove past Prudential estate while the firefight with the last gunman took place. My driving the rest of that day was erratic. I couldn’t focus.

I later came to hear that this gunman, the very one who had allegedly shot and killed a policeman while injuring two others, called media houses and even went live on a radio station begging to have his life spared and offering to surrender in the presence of media and human rights groups, he didn’t get that option, a Swat team took him out in under three minutes.

My question is: When is execution justified, if ever? This man had just murdered an officer, so was his execution then inevitable? If indeed he had offered to surrender and confess his crimes, should his life have been spared?


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  1. #1 by Ngatia (@ngatts) on October 17, 2011 - 4:52 pm

    With the same ease that they shoot random people that they rob, I feel nothing for them. You chose that life, unless you leave it it will kill you.

    • #2 by Wes on October 17, 2011 - 5:13 pm

      But the fact this guy claimed to a radio station that he was “innocent” and could explain his crimes is suspect. What if he had actually been an informer or working in cahoots with some dirty cops who preferred he were silenced forever. How can we even be sure if he indeed shot and injured the police officers they say he did. The police themselves claim the middle-aged lady was shot by thugs, how can we certain. How can everyone get closure if these criminals are shot, and I don’t pretend they are not ruthless psychopaths, even if they offer to surrender?

  2. #3 by Sam on October 19, 2011 - 12:07 am

    I was bus-jacked in a citi hoppa two years ago, and lost a Nakumatt card and Uchumi card that I have never replaced.Some fellow passenger who was from an interview lost all his original certificates.A guy who chooses to call a Radio Staion only when he knows he is cornered should just bear the consequences of his acts.I believe Kenya police can work if they want to.But we have too much interference.Recently the police complained how VIPs frustrate their efforts to control traffic.Let’s leave the guy to cool his heels in the world yonder.When the thugs were killed on Langata road, later I learnt from very highly placed sources that one of them had car jacked a lady banker, cleaned her account of Ksh.3M;fed her only on a soda he had half taken,that’s what she survived on for 3 days, and after an ordeal of being deatined in Dandora,left her to walk barefeet to get help.Even the Bible says that the law exists to punish the wrong doer.

    • #4 by Wes on October 19, 2011 - 10:17 am

      I hear you, it’s just that I have it from reliable sources that this particular gunman who was killed last was an ex-GSU officer who had disappeared from the service two years back and was suspected to have gone for training in Somalia. The fact that the guy said he had information he wanted to confess should have raised eyebrows, and the fact that they had to call in RECCE, a squad that protects the countries topmost political leadership, (or it was an anti-terrorism unit that came according to other reports) should raise even more eyebrows. Chances are this sort of skilled gunman who could literally go through a mabati fence, jump into a police station, ambush an experienced policeman and murder him, and then hold off dozens of officers single-handedly for hours, could have been a hitman or a political assassin who might have provided clues and information on the real kingpins of the underground. But I do understand the frustration of regular police who often arrest criminals only to see them released and seeking revenge. Also this gunman made a very big mistake by choosing to kill a police officer, everywhere in the world killing an officer is more or less telling other police officers that you have no respect for their lives and hence they should have no respect for yours. There was no way the police would have ever let him get out alive. No way.

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