Friends Vetting

Allan was barely seated at Juma’s house when the police came knocking. He was so scared, thought his end had come. He had never seen so many guns at such close proximity — if not in a movie — in his entire life, and it was the first time that one was pointed at him.

The intruders were policemen in civilian clothing, and with the authoritative voice they came in with, there was no doubt about that fact. They were about seven officers in total, both armed to the teeth. Actually it was like they were after a terrorist or someone more deadlier than that, if there is. Both Allan and his friend didn’t wait to be asked to get down.

“Hands behind your back!”

“We’ve finally found you!” In a booming voice, said one of the officers, the one who appeared like the leader of the group.

“You thought you could hide forever!” He continued, moving closer.

At the time, Allan was lying flat on the ground, his lips tightly pressed to Juma’s dusty floor. He was barely breathing, and each time he inhaled, the oxygen went in accompanied with dust particles. He couldn’t comprehend what was going on. The adrenaline rush in his body couldn’t give him time to digest all that was going on through his mind. He had heard and read nasty stories of police officers shooting down people, mostly the youth, who they suspected of being criminals in Nairobi, and thinking it might be him joining the statistics, freaked him out like hell. He was almost pissing on himself. At one time he almost thought of dashing through the door, but then thought against it. It was probably a bad idea. The officers wouldn’t hesitate shooting at him. He was not ready to die.

Within those few minutes that he laid on that floor, he tried thinking of anything he might have done that was likely to land him in trouble, or anyone he might have crossed the wrong way, but there was no clue. Could it be his ex girlfriend, her baby daughter’s mother the one sending cops after him? He was aware Jackline was dating a cop. But could she send all those cops in broad daylight for some vendetta! Yes, she was capable of much more, but sending cops to kill him was unlikely one of them.

“You three check the other rooms!” Commanded the leader, pointing to the officers on his right. That brought back Allan from wherever his mind had wandered to and back to reality. One of the officers, the only lady in the group and the only one who carried what looked like an AK47 riffle, stepped on his fingers with his heavy boot — maybe intentionally — while walking past to carry out the order and it really hurt him. But the funny thing, he didn’t even open his mouth to whimper, maybe he was more scared of what was coming than the pangs of pain shaking his fingers.

At that same moment something hit his mind, what if it wasn’t him the cops were after! What if they were after his guest! What did Juma do for a living? It was then that he was realizing that he knew very little about his friend apart from the fact that they went to the same primary school back in the day.

Allan only met Juma two weeks ago, and it was by accident. He wanted a new TV set and so he had gone to Luthuli Street in Nairobi to do some window shopping and it was there that he met Juma, doing the same. They greeted each other and it was him that offered to buy him a cup of coffee while they caught up.

“So you wanted to buy a TV too?” Allan asked his friend after a moment while waiting for their order to come through.

“Nah. I was only waiting for a friend and so I decided to check out on their stuff since I happen to be in that business.” Replied Juma, with a smark on his face.

“Oh really! Then you might be able to help me cause I was just looking for a new TV set. Samsung.”

“Then you must be the luckiest man alive juu niko na stuff utapenda. 32″” Said Juma dishing out his phone to take Allan’s phone number. They exchanged contacts and left.

A day later Juma showed up with a brand new TV, exactly 32″ Samsung but selling at an incredible price, ksh. 9000 only. It wasn’t even a quarter of the retail price. Allan was surprised but didn’t mind. But that was when the friendship developed. So when Juma invited Allan over that Saturday, he didn’t think much about it, accepted the invitation.

Juma stayed in a three bedroom apartment in Fedha, Embakasi area in Nairobi. The house didn’t have much furniture, in fact one would mistake it for an electronic store. There were dozen of electronics; from TV sets to home theaters, from pay TV decoder’s to mobile phones. Something didn’t feel right.

“What are you doing with all these bro?” Allan asked, not hiding how astounded he was. But the guy only replied with a crude smile.

“Where did you get it from?” Allan went on with the questioning. Juma wasn’t impressed with either the questions or the questioning.

“Man! Wewe ni popo, nini? Why the many questions?” Allan said nothing more because then and there, in came the real popos.

“Tia hawa majingili pingu!” The officer barked again, this time round to one of the remaining officers. Allan started trembling, he had never been in handcuffs before. And he was petrified with the “majangili” term the officer had used. He wasn’t a criminal, at least to the best of his knowledge. Not unless, Heartbreakers too fall under that category.

After being handcuffed and roughly stood up, he was asked his name and that’s when he thought it was the best idea to try and explain himself to the cops. With tears competing down his cheeks in parallel streams, Allan started begging for mercy before he was shut down with a thunderous slap. He felt dizziness, and temporarily blacked out falling with a thud on the hard floor, bruising his right arm. While down there he started wondering why he ran into Juma in the first place. They were now brutally beating juma and threatening to shoot him if he didn’t give up the other gang members. The commander had stepped on Juma’s head with his boot. He was bleeding profusely. To Allan, it was now clear it was Juma they were after.

Allan was again commanded to get up and explain how he knew Juma. He told them everything but they didn’t believe him. One officer knocked him hard on the stomach with his gun butt and it was really painful.

“The next one is a bullet!” Said the officer. Allan’s bowels made way, allowing the unimaginable to freely flow to freedom. The room was filled up with a ghastly stench, and for a moment, the officers retreated so fast you would think an explosive had been thrown into the room.

“Kijana ameharibu hewa bwana!” Cried one officer holding on to his nose as he competed with the others towards the the door. The other officers who been commanded to check the rooms came rushing back with their guns pointed. They thought the suspects had tried something funny. It earned him a proper beating and soon he was bleeding too. Red warm blood gushed from his nostrils and the cuffs were too tight on his wrists. But still they let him talk.

Allan had to produce someone who would vouch for him and he had to do it fast. But thank God, where Allan stayed in Embakasi, most of his neighbours were GSU officers, some of whom he had made friends with. So he called one called Jonathan but who he only referred to as Mkubwa. From what he had heard from the other GSU officers, Mkubwa was somehow senior in rank and he thought he might be able to help him.

Since he was handcuffed from the back, there was no way he could reach his phone which was in the pocket of his pants. So one of the officers came over and helped him out. He showed him the unlock pattern and told him to dial Mkubwa. He dialed and put the phone on speaker and the commander barked at him to start talking.

Allan quickly summarized to Mkubwa how he had met Juma to that moment they had been ambushed by the officers. After introduction between Mkubwa and the commander, they found out they knew each other pretty well. Afterwards a short conversation ensued and it was then that Allan understood that the officers were from Anti Crime Special Unit (ACSU) which had been tracking Juma and his gang members for months for various crimes around the city and its environs. Allan couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He was set free and if only you saw the speed at which he left the premise!

Allan got to his house, knelt down and thanked God for saving him, drunk a jug full of water before thinking about his injuries. Cleaned up, swallowed some Mara moja he purchased in a shop downstairs for his pain before collapsing into bed.

Two weeks later, in the aftermath of the unfortunate events, when he had fully recovered from his stupor, he tried calling Juma to find out on his fate but he couldn’t get in touch with him. He tried again some days later and still nothing. He gave up but hoped he was alright.

Allan resumed his normal life and was even starting to forget about Juma and that unfortunate day. Then one day while going through Facebook feeds he stumbled upon a blood curdling post that literally froze up his blood.

Juma’s corpse had been found rotting away in the City mortuary by his family. They had started searching for him everywhere including in morgues after he send his brother a dream that he was dead. Since they had not heard from him in months, didn’t hesitate searching for him. They found him dead with bullet wounds in the head and chest sections. That was his fate. A horrible end.

This post is not meant to scare anyone, on the opposite I’m only trying to tell you to be careful out there with friends you haven’t heard of in a while. Believe me people do change! Someone you were with in highschool ten years ago is most likely not to be the same person today. It’s okay to say hi, but before you start getting excited and getting cozy, do some background check. Some little nosying around wouldn’t do you any harm.

6 thoughts on “Friends Vetting

  1. Yes, here, it is called “due diligence”. I have been approached by a few people- “Please sponsor me”; “Sign me up for a senior living encampment”-only to learn that the police are seeking the one and the other has tried this scam with several other men, to be uniformly rejected.

    Liked by 1 person

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