Editor's Review

Wanjala, who had reportedly confessed to murdering 10 children, controversially escaped from Jogoo Road police station in Nairobi. 

Police cells are considered one of the most safest places owing to the tight security. However, over the years, several cases have been reported of suspects controversially escaping from cells in the country. 

In this article, we outline five instances where suspects made daring escapes from police cells:

Kelvin Kangethe  escape from Muthaiga police station

Kangethe was arrested in a Nairobi nightclub on 30 January 2024 over claims of murdering Margaret Mbitu, a healthcare aide in Massachusetts, United States on 31 October 2023.

A police report indicated that Kangethe murdered Mbitu and left her body at Logan International Airport, after which he travelled to Kenya. 

Following his arrest, Kangethe was presented in court and was detained for 30 days at Muthaiga police station as his extradition request was being heard. 

On 7 February 2024, Kangethe fled from the station and jumped onto a matatu after which he escaped to an unknown destination. 

Preliminary reports indicated that he had requested to meet his lawyer at the station before escaping. 

"The officers agreed to his request and removed the prisoner from the cells and took him to an office … leaving them there. After a short while the prisoner escaped by running away,” Nairobi police boss Adamson Bungei said.

The officers on duty at the time of the escape were arrested together with the purported lawyer.

Masten Wanjala escape from Jogoo Road police station

On 14 October 2021, Wanjala, who had reportedly confessed to murdering 10 children in Bungoma County controversially escaped from Jogoo Road police station in Nairobi.

Wanjala escaped hours before he was to be presented in court for the hearing of his case.

File image of Masten Wanjala. [Photo: Courtesy]

According to the police, they did not notice that Wanjala was missing until when taking the morning roll call.

Three officers who were on duty at the time of his escape were arrested and charged with aiding a suspect to escape from lawful custody.

Wanjala is reported to have been murdered by an irate mob in Bungoma days after he escaped from police custody in Nairobi. 

8 escape from Thika Police

In May 2012, eight suspects arrested over robbery with violence claims controversially escaped from Thika police station where they were being detained. 

According to the DCI, the suspects forcefully fled from Thika Police Station after attacking and overpowering the officer who was manning their cell.

The escapees are said to have tricked the officer that one of them was unwell and could barely walk, only for them to attack the officer when he opened the door to assess the situation.

2 escape from Kakamega Police

In May 2023, two robbery with violence suspects escaped from a police station in Kakamega under mysterious circumstances.

The two were reported missing by an officer on duty, but it is unclear how they managed to flee the station unnoticed.

The DCI noted that two police officers who were on duty when the suspects escaped were placed in custody to aid with investigations.

9 escape from Isiolo Police

In July 2023, nine suspects controversially escaped from Isiolo police station in the wee hours of the morning.

Reports indicated that the suspects fled the station after breaking the lock to their holding cell.

Despite their cell being adjacent to the OB desk, the officers manning the station didn't notice that the suspects had fled until hours later.