In 2023, Kenya witnessed a series of high-profile crimes that sparked public interest and outrage in equal measure.
From cult massacres to fraudulent schemes and heinous murders, these incidents unfolded, leaving a lasting impact on the nation.
Kenyans.co.ke breaks them down.
The Shakahola Massacre came to light in April when a man reported his family missing after joining Cult Leader Paul Mackenzie’s Good News International Ministries.
The subsequent police investigation revealed the existence of shallow graves in the 880-acre Shakahola forest in Kilifi.
Approximately 15 emaciated individuals were rescued, having been brainwashed into believing that fasting to death would lead them to heaven.
Mackenzie and 16 group members, including his third wife Rhoda Mumbua Maweu, were arrested.
An ad hoc committee was established by the Senate to investigate the proliferation of religious organisations and the circumstances leading to the deaths in the Shakahola forest.
The committee’s October report disclosed that 428 bodies had been exhumed, and Mackenzie was accused of recruiting vulnerable people through deceptive tactics, exploiting them financially, and creating an armed gang to enforce his starvation doctrine.
Photo collage of Pastor Paul Mackenzie speaking at an interview (left) and the pastor leaving Malindi Police Station in Kilifi County on April 22, 2023.
Controversial Murder of Eric Maigo
On September 5, Eric Maigo, the finance manager at Nairobi Hospital, was found dead at his Woodley Estate home in Nairobi County with 16 stab wounds.
Police investigations, based on CCTV footage and phone data, led to the arrest of Ann Adhiambo, a teenager seen in the footage climbing over a fence.
Initially pleading guilty to the charges, Adhiambo later changed her plea to not guilty.
The case took unexpected turns, revealing complex details surrounding Maigo’s murder.
The late accountant, Erick Maigo, (left) and the suspect of his murder.
Murder of Edwin Chiloba
Edwin Chiloba, a gay rights activist, fashion designer, and model, was found dead on January 3, 2023, with signs of strangulation.
Eight days later, government pathologist Johansen Oduor told journalists a post-mortem examination had found Chiloba died of asphyxia, with socks stuffed in his mouth and a piece of his jeans tied around his nose and mouth.
On January 6, Police arrested four suspects linked to his murder, including a prime suspect.
The main suspect admitted to killing Chiloba over allegations that he cheated on him.
The two had been living together for over a year before the tragic incident.
LGBTQ activist Edwin Chiloba poses for a photo on July 10, 2022.
In April, a horrifying incident unfolded in Kitengela when a woman fatally stabbed her 2-year-old daughter.
The woman later claimed that she was affected by her break up with the child’s father.
Speaking to the press, the lady confessed that she attacked her baby because she hated herself and had suffered greatly with her child.
During the incident that went viral on the internet, the neighbours resorted to watching helplessly from the window as the lady stabbed the little child and reportedly ate some of her body parts.
The neighbours who recorded the woman killing her daughter claimed she was mentally unstable because she committed the crime without fearing arrest.
Fake Gold Deal
In September, the DCI initiated a probe into a fake gold deal involving 10 suspects, including a sitting Senator, two Members of Parliament, and senior officers in the National Police Service.
The scam aimed to defraud a Tunisia international of Ksh1 billion in a fake gold deal.
Days before the arrest of the suspects, the victim jetted into the country and spent hours without being picked up by anyone, there he decided to take a taxi that dropped him at his destination.
In the thick of things, the victim was to pay Ksh.400 million before being allowed to see the gold, and after smelting and verifying a sample, he was then to pay the remaining Ksh.600 million.
He however did not show up alone as a team of undercover detectives were listening in and pounced on the suspects once they gathered the evidence they needed.
DCI boss Mohamed Amid noted they were investigating a sitting Senator, two sitting Members of Parliament, and senior officers in the National Police Service (NPS) who made attempts to ensure the suspects were freed.
Ksh94M Supermarket Heist
In November, two employees of a security firm tasked with delivering Ksh94.9 million belonging to a supermarket chain disappeared with the cash in an incident that immediately became national news.
Detectives would later arrest four suspects linked to the heist, recovering Ksh9.1 million.
A suspect, identified as the owner of the vehicle used in the heist was arrested in Rongai, while the vehicle was traced to Njiru in Kayole.
In Njiru, two additional suspects were taken into custody as they attempted to modify the vehicle to conceal its identity.
During this operation, the police successfully recovered Ksh9.1 million from the total amount of Ksh94 million that had been stolen.
On November 25, detectives again cornered four more suspects who were linked to planning the whole operation bringing the total number of culprits arrested to 8.
Money recovered by DCI officers from four suspects linked to Ksh94 Million heist
Ksh 439 Trillion Fake Money Scheme
On November 15, detectives arrested eight suspects involved in a Ksh 439 trillion fraud scheme targeting two Dutch nationals.
The suspects were found in possession of several boxes filled with fake US dollars.
The elaborate scheme involved contacting the foreigners through a WhatsApp call and convincing them to pay $36,000 (Ksh5.4 million) as duty fee for a consignment of $439 trillion destined for Dubai from the Central Bank of Togo.
Some of the fake cash recovered by DCI officers on November 16, 2023.