Popular Kenyan butcher arrested over livestock theft

Femi Morgan

The Kenyan Police have arrested popular butcher, Peter Njenga, alias Sonko, over livestock theft.

In a statement made by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, on Saturday, the police said the butcher, who operates a chain of Nyama Choma eateries along the eastern bypass, was arrested after he was linked to the disappearance of livestock in nearby Machakos county.

Maina’s arrest came after numerous complaints from Athi River-based herders, following an increase in livestock disappearance over the past few months.

After being grilled since Saturday night, the suspect led detectives to his accomplices in the multi-million livestock theft industry. Among the arrested is the driver of the lorry that ferried the livestock, David Gachora, and the lorry’s owner, Samuel Mwangi.

The statement read in part, “Peter Njenga alias Sonko was arrested after forensic investigations linked him to the raid of a Masai manyatta on December 16 last year in Athi River, Machakos county.

“During the raid staged in the dead of the night, a herd of cattle valued at over Sh1 million was stolen and loaded into a waiting lorry.

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“Detectives from the elite Crime Research and Intelligence Bureau, together with Athi River-based sleuths have since established that the cattle were driven to the Dagoretti slaughterhouse, where a ready market for livestock including stolen animals thrives. In some instances, the animals are slaughtered in the bush and ferried straight to popular meat joints in the city.

“The 41-year-old mastermind of the illegal trade that has left livestock keepers destitute lives in opulence in Utawala, in the city’s outskirts. The suspect is an established butcher who operates Nyama Choma eateries scattered across the city.

“They are located at strategic places along the eastern bypass in Utawala and Ruiru towns, where city residents and revellers frequent to enjoy mouth-watering Nyama Choma and other accompaniments.

“Expectedly, the suspect’s butcheries that offer a Kilogram of beef at a highly discounted price of Sh380, were a beehive of activity when detectives raided them last evening.”

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