The three convicts who escaped from Kamiti Maximum Prison are now on the run. The Nation can reveal that since their jailbreak, hunger and thirst have caused them to lose direction in Kitui wilderness while terror has forced them back into hiding after blowing their cover with Musharabi’s plan for escape execution .
Musharaf Abdallah Akhulunga aka Zarkawi or Alex is one of these convicted criminals whose name was announced by Interpol during an event organized last week at Kenya National Police Academy where he gave credit towards others involved in planning this daring operation which saw two other co-conspirators being captured less than 24 hours ago following outstanding job done by agents working tirelessly through tough terrain everyday seeking clues leading up until Sunday.
They broke out of Kamiti on Sunday evening, travelling and managing to get to Kitui the same night. Investigations by The Nation show they casually walked into town undetected from where it is believed that day one was spent looking around for a way in which they could make some money without drawing too much attention or suspicion from law enforcement agencies already onto them as fugitives with warrants outstanding against their capture since about 24 hours ago, following an escape attempt gone bad at Zomba Central Prison . It only took until Monday noon before these freedom fighters boarded a matatu christened Changamsha plying route between towns near each other – Endau Malalani market being its final destination – after telling conductors along this means wherever you going.
After weeks of avoiding detection, they finally arrived at Malalani. The town was nearly 100 kilometers East of Kitui town in the Kenyan province known for its game reserves and has been used as refuge by terror cells before.
The fugitives had few days left before their escape plan became clear so it seemed like most likely place to hide out until then – especially since this area borders South Kitui Game Reserve which served as an important staging ground where militants would orchestrate attacks on security forces during recent years.
The three escapees were tired, dirty and thirsty. They bought a lot of milk at local shops with cash but didn’t seem to want anything else; maybe because they looked exhausted or it could be that one man had swollen legs due walking long distances?
“They appeared confused and lost, unaware of the geography around them. They were asking how they could connect to the Garissa or Tana River counties from the area,” said a trader at the market who spoke to the Nation on condition that he was not named for security reasons.
The mention of Boni Forest to residents triggered instant suspicion.
“It was dark but you could see the strangers were looking confused, worried and in some hurry as they asked for directions to Boni Forest. They bought their foodstuffs and fled back to the bush,” the trader explained.
The three escaped criminals were seen shopping at a nearby market before being chased into the bush. The scene that ensued was chaotic as shopkeepers tried to arrest them and collect their bounty on Sh60 million worth of terrorists, but unknown to anyone in town they had already blown themselves up because residents immediately notified police about suspicious characters who looked just like those being hunted by authorities.
After being cornered by security agents, the two men made a run for it and ran out of luck when they got caught at Malalani market in Endau location. They were then taken to Kamiti but before that happened there was one more thing these escapees had done; hiding during daylight hours while trekking at night and risking getting spotted so as not be captured first time around.
They were being pursued by security agencies, so they hired a boda-bodas driver who took them from Malalani to Wingemi near the Mwingi -Garissa road. They rested for one while his swollen legs developed but before long it became too much and he had no choice but take refuge in an abandoned property along route where all four hid out until morning when Kenyan troops found their campsite during patrol around 3 kilometres away at 4am this past Sunday.
The soldiers quickly surrounded him with turrets armed; however after establishing eye contact 1/4 mile off without any weapons drawn or raised intoposition order came down regulate fire immediately.
Terrorists from Kitui County, Kenya were caught by security forces as they attempted to escape. The suspects are believed to have been part of a larger terrorist organization and may have wanted revenge for killing one or more members earlier this week in Mwingi-Garissa Highway.
The Nation discovered that all routes out there had been blocked off – including those leading towards neighboring counties such as Siaya , Isiolo & Trans Nzoia However according our sources close with law enforcement authorities on site during the manhunt these individuals turned themselves into police upon being spotted.
“When we finally caught up with them, one of them, Joseph Juma Odhiambo, was too tired to flee and he just surrendered without much struggle but the other two took off, prompting a chase that didn’t last long,” said a police reservist involved in the operation.
He said Odhiambo was found sleeping but the other two resisted arrest and were determined to flee but luckily, they were not armed and so overpowering them “was easy”.
A security source confided to the Nation that Odhiambo was found with Sh10,300 in cash, money they intended to use as transport to Boni Forest, which means they must have been assisted to get to Kitui town.
“Upon frisking them, we found the terrorists had some cash. They also had a few light clothes packed in a small gunny bag,” the source said.
They telephoned their security bosses who arranged to have the convicts collected from the bush and taken to Mwingi Police Station for onward handing over to the Anti-Terror Police Unit.
They were positively identified and later airlifted to Kamiti where Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, his ICT counterpart Joe Mucheru and other top security chiefs were waiting.
After a long, treacherous journey from Marion County Jail to Kamiti Prison in the Land Rover was their new home for as long as authorities wanted them there. The rebels’ faces were obscured by balaclavas and they were escorted out of an helicopter onto soft ground with police officers waiting on either side who removed all identifying features before carrying each one through metal detectors at waist height into custody — first Dr Matiang’i himself then Hillary Mutyambai DCI George Kinoti among others officials following close behind.
“I would like to confirm to Kenyans that our manhunt has been able to get the three inmates within the border of Tana River and Mwingi, they were deep in the bush. Our assessment is that they were moving towards Garissa and maybe finally to cross to Somalia,” said Mr Mutyambai.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank Kenyans for the information they have shared, which has led to this success and I appeal that in the same spirit we stay alert and share what we get that is of security importance with the police.”
The three men will be charged afresh with escaping from lawful custody.