Police shoot, kill Kitui pastor involved in robbery incident

Police in Kitui have gunned down a pastor in a robbery with violence incident at Kavisuni market in Kisasi district.

The pastor whose identity was not immediately established at the shooting scene, was allegedly part of a gang that raided a wholesale shop belonging to Muli Munyoki last week and robbed him at gun point.

In the shocking incident of preachers of the gospel by the day and gangsters at night, the robbers used to operate two churches in the Matinyani area of Kitui West.

The slain pastor identified as Ezekiel Muinde Mwangangi was a preacher at the Heaven City Chapel based at Soweto area, while still overseeing a new branch at Kauma Market, some five kilometers away.

His accomplice in the evening robbery – a fellow worshipper escaped with gunshot wounds after the rogue preachers came under a hail of police bullets.

The pastor was found armed with a toy pistol, a sharp double edged dagger and a fake police radio communication gadget while his accomplice who is on the run is believed to be armed with a real gun.

According to the shop owner, the robbers confronted him posing as police officers moment after he had closed claiming they were investigating a case of stolen goods which they suspected he was selling.

“They presented themselves as police officers from Kitui Police Station tracking stolen goods and demanded to check my stock. Once inside the shop they drew guns and ordered me and the night guard to lie down” explained Mr Munyoki.

They allegedly robbed the trader of Sh5,000 in cash and forced him to surrender his mobile phone, as they ransacked the shop for valuables and more cash.

In the commotion, police officers from the nearby Kavisuni police post were alerted and they responded swiftly and rushed to the scene.

When police arrived at Mr Munyoki’s shop, they met the robbers walking out still holding the trader by his shirt collars.

The officers ordered them to surrender but instead, they brandished guns as they tried to escape using their motorcycle.

Police opened fire killing the pastor instantly while his accomplice escaped into the darkness having sustained gun wounds on his left hand.

Unknown to the officers and the crowd milled at the scene, the robbers including the one felled by bullets were actually preachers in Kitui town and its environs.

The Nation established that slain pastor turned robber was born at Tiva village in Kwa Vonza location, where he went to school at Tiva Primary School, which is adjacent to their home. His wife works with a leading chain (Maginas) supermarket.

Preliminary investigations established that on the fateful day, the two hired a motorcycle registration number KMDG 118K belonging to a friend at Katyethoka market, pretending they needed to transport their church music system to an open crusade within the municipality.

Instead, they proceed to commit robbery with violence at Kavisuni market, some 40 kilometers away.

According to Kitui County Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Eng Samuel Bett, police officers were not aware that the robbers were masquerading as pastors.

“The information about the robber being a pastor emerged later after his body had been taken to the mortuary,” the DCI boss said.

Eng Bett confirmed that several people have been questioned by detectives including the owner of the motorcycle used by the robbers while other members of the public have volunteered crucial information.

Contacted for comment, Kalimani location Chief Cyrus Kitwai Malombe confirmed that Pastor Ezekiel Muinde was part of the leadership of the Soweto church.

Mr Malombe upon receiving the information visited the Church and verified the slain robber was their pastor, an active leader in praise and worship sessions where he played and trained other worshippers how to play the piano.

“The community around was shocked that a pastor they knew was not only involved in a robbery with violence but also killed in a shootout with police,” the Chief told the Nation.

The Chief said last month, the church had a week-long daily afternoon crusade at Soweto Township, where the robber participated.

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