A 23-year-old woman has paid with her life after refusing to marry a love-struck policeman.
Ms Anne Wanjohi, who helped to run her sister’s cyber café in Nairobi’s city centre, was shot five times on Saturday evening as she pleaded on the phone with the officer’s mother to reason with her son.
The police officer identified as Constable Simon Njoroge Njau is now fighting for his life at Kenyatta National Hospital after he turned the gun on himself immediately after shooting his girlfriend.
Witnesses said the officer went into Web Link Cyber Café at Braidwood House on Tom Mboya Street, opposite the Nairobi Fire Station, and found Ms Wanjohi attending to a client.
“He wanted to talk to her about their relationship because she had wanted to break up with him over the past two weeks,” said Mr Ashford Hinga, Ms Wanjohi’s workmate.
“Anne was attending to a client but he insisted on talking to her. She said she was busy and needed to finish with the client,” he said.
Mr Hinga added that when he was dismissed, the officer stormed out of the cyber café and told Ms Wanjohi he would be back in a few minutes.
“While he was away, he kept texting Anne,” said Mr Hinga.
He said Mr Njau, who had known Anne for just three months, came back and found Ms Wanjohi getting her things ready to leave. He tried talking to her but she did not want to listen, and the officer pulled out a gun and shot her in the hand.
“When Anne tried to get away, he shot her again and again as he threatened to shoot the other people who were in the cyber café and those who came to see what was happening,” he said.
Mr Hinga said he ran away when the Njau pointed the gun at the people who were standing at the scene.
“I ran away from the scene and when I came back after the shooting had stopped, I found the two on the floor. Anne was dead,” he said.
All this time, Ms Wanjohi’s mother, Njambi Gacheru, who was waiting for her daughter to close the business so that they could go home together was outside the premises.
“He found me outside. We spoke for a few minutes and then he went inside. He did not tell me his intentions but he had constantly told me that he loved my daughter,” said Ms Gacheru.
The distraught mother said she heard gunshots and went to see what was happening only to find her daughter bleeding on the floor.
She says she knew the officer, having met him four times before the Saturday incident.
According to Ms Wanjohi’s sister, Mary Wangare, the officer had threatened her sister her several times that he would kill her if she did not agree to marry him.
She said her sister had been rejecting the officer’s marriage proposal and kept telling him she was not ready.
“He kept insisting that he wanted to marry her immediately. This made Anne uncomfortable and she tried avoiding him,” she said, adding that her sister wanted to pursue further studies.
“She wanted to continue working so that she could save some money to enable her to join university. She was his girlfriend, but he insisted on marriage. I don’t know why he shot her, but I remember he had assaulted her on three occasions,” Ms Wangare said, in tears.
She said the officer kept telling her sister that he had never loved anyone the way he loved her, and that he was not going to live without her.
Nairobi police commander Japhet Koome said a scuffle over an unclear issue ensued and the officer shot the woman in the head.
“He then shot himself three times, rendering himself unconscious. He was taken to hospital in critical condition,” Mr Koome said, adding that Mr Njau would be charged in court once he is out of hospital.
Police who were called to the scene confiscated the firearm, a Jericho pistol, serial number KP 40309165, from the police officer and took him to the Kenyatta National Hospital for treatment. Ms Wanjohi’s body was taken to the City Mortuary.
The incident adds to the high number of police officers committing suicide or killing their friends, relatives, lovers and colleagues using their official firearms.
On February 22, an Administration Police officer shot dead his colleague and injured another one before killing himself in Nairobi’s Embakasi area.
Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet is yet to make public the report by a task force formed to investigate such killings, which have been linked to poor working conditions and trauma, among other reasons.
Human rights defenders have been pushing for constant provision of counselling services for members of the uniformed forces, in a bid to reduce such cases.
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