Masten Wanjala, a 20-year-old self-confessed serial killer, hoped to find solace in his rural home after escaping from police custody and the whole world turned against him, only to meet an irate mob that lynched him on Friday, October 15.
His own father, Robert Wanjala, in a candid interview, admitted that the deceased was his son, but disowned the suspect whose story was covered globally.
“A bloodthirsty vampire”, as described by international media like the UK’s Daily Mail, Wanjala confessed to having murdered over 13 children in Nairobi and two other counties.
With no one else to comfort him, but himself, Wanjala reportedly posted on his social media that death awaited him. “I Must Die,” he posted on Facebook on Wednesday, September 1.
This was nearly a month and two weeks before he escaped police custody at Jogoo Road Police Station on the night of Tuesday, October 12. A day before he was to be arraigned to face 13 counts of murder.
His story shared many similarities, save for a few twists, with that of the late Corporal Caroline Kangongo, who was reported to have died by suicide. Like Masten, Kangogo was on the run from Nairobi after being accused of killing two people. Both Masten and Kangogo died at their home counties and both used similar tactics to evade police dragnet.
In the case of Masten, he was just but a young boy who did not have any skills like Kangogo, who evaded the police for nearly a month and had access to money and ammunition.
“His (Masten's) case ended in just under 72 hours only,” security expert and former police officer, George Musamali, stated.
Masten was reported to have escaped during dinner at around 8pm on Tuesday night, October 12. In the morning, an officer who conducted a roll call noted that the suspect was missing and raised an alarm.
Like Kangogo, Masten was suspected to have been assisted by police officers. Three law enforcers who were accused of negligence were detained and questioned over his disappearance, but later released on Ksh100,000 cash bail.
“It is easy for one to claim that Masten’s case might be a set-up like Kangogo’s where police were accused of murdering her."
“However, for the young man’s case, this was pure negligence from my expert perspective. He did not have any financial muscle to buy himself from custody. Also, consider his age and state of mind, from confessing to chilling crimes to even playing football on his last day when he was spotted by neighbours and was beaten to death,” Musamali explained.
He noted that this case was different from that of wanted terrorist Samantha Louise Lewthwaite, also known as Sherafiyah Lewthwaite or the White Widow, who evaded police ambushes in Kenya or the late jihadist Fazul Abdullah Mohammed who escaped from Kenyan police stations several times.
“For the two cases touching on the terrorists, there were reports alleging that police were paid to bungle raids and arrests. This shows that people have disappeared before from custody and Masten’s did not have such a status to claim that his case was a set up by police,” Musamali added.
Detectives stated that Masten had access to a phone while in custody, contrary to the regulations governing the use of gadgets in police cells.
Investigators believed that the fugitive coordinated and communicated with an accomplice who assisted him to evade a multi-agency unit hunting him down.
“He did not have crime analysis nor cybercrime skills like Kangogo who knew how to circumvent firewalls - network security systems that monitor and control incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules. In the police stations, criminals who stay for long at times befriend police officers to enjoy certain privileges.
“The Stockholm syndrome - psychological response wherein a captive begins to identify closely with his or her captors, as well as with their agenda and demands. Police are human and can break the law. This explains why Masten had access to a phone,” Musamali explained.
Having a mask on seemingly aided Masten to conceal his identity. The fugitive crossed nearly eight counties and several police roadblocks to arrive at his home in Bungoma County. This was despite the police issuing an alert over his escape.
Musamali further questioned why the police did not detain the fugitive in highly guarded stations such as Buru Buru, Kileleshwa, Gigiri or Muthaiga.
Doubts also surfaced over his timely period of escape, a day before he was to appear in court. Ironically, Bungoma residents alleged that they spotted his in the county a week before his death.
This means that according to the residents, he escaped around Thursday, October 7, five days before the police reported date - Tuesday, October 12.
Masten's grandmother alleged that the deceased bribed her with Ksh800 before he fled.
"The family told us that the deceased was spotted at the grandmother's home last week and was even served food," a resident claimed.
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