In Summary
  • Every time a trap was set, the police would only realise later that Rasta had escaped, leaving his henchmen to take the fall
  • Whenever Rasta rented a house in Nairobi’s Eastlands area, a member of the Alpha Romeo squad would then be his next-door neighbour

Benard Matheri Thuo alias Rasta, the last of a deadly trio of gangsters, was shot dead by police in Kiambu county.

From 1993, Rasta, Anthony Ngugi Kanagi alias Wacucu, and Gerald Wambugu Munyera alias Wanugu were Kenya’s most dreaded criminals.

Their rich profile of criminal activities varying from carjackings, kidnappings, robbery with violence, torture, and killing was only rivalled by another underworld kingpin, Nicholas Mwea alias Wakinyonga, whose reign had been abruptly ended in 1978 by crime buster Patrick Shaw.

However, the trio’s clocks started ticking when on August 21, 1995, Police Commissioner Shadrack Kiruki declared them Kenya’s most wanted gangsters. He offered a Sh100,000 reward for information leading to their capture.

On January 1, 1996, an elite shoot-to-kill squad from the Criminal Investigations Department (now Directorate of Criminal Investigations) started hunting down Wacucu, Rasta, and Wanugu.

Three days later, the Alfa Romeo squad led by Daniel Seronei received a tip-off that Wacucu and Wanugu were travelling in a car heading to the latter’s rented house in Rongai.

They were intercepted and Wacucu, the ringleader of the gang, was killed in the ensuing shootout. Though wounded, Wanugu escaped because he was protected by his bullet-proof vest.


The police put out an alert in hospitals just in case he sought treatment, but Wanugu came back on the police radar much later.

The police had hunted Wacucu for various crimes since 1993. For instance, he is alleged to have killed two GSU officers on Outering Road in Nairobi that year. In 1995, he killed a CID officer and two women in Ruiru.

He was also said to have been the mastermind of various violent robberies and bank heists.

Success came for the Alpha Romeo squad six months later.

In April 1996, Wanugu had escaped a week-long ambush set by the Alpha Romeo squad in Mombasa.

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