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Robbery near Kijabe....

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Level Contributor
3 posts
1 review
Robbery near Kijabe....

Okay, so here's the story: On Tuesday, October 18th, at about 10:15 a.m., on our second day in Kenya, my husband and i, along with our Kikuyu driver and rented vehicle, were ambushed and robbed on the lower Kijabe road by four men with a (apparent) gun and three double-edged pangas. The vehicle was forced down an embankment and into the brush, as windows were smashed and the three of us were led to believe that we might very likely be killed. We were robbed of cell phones, cameras, laptop computer, cash, jewelry, shoes and clothing and other stuff that we are still discovering to be missing. God was good, in that none of us was seriously injured physically...just severely traumatized, as you might imagine. The CID, the Kenya Police and several missionaries from Kijabe were very supportive and helpful to us in the aftermath. Our special thanks goes to our driver and two Kenya Police officers assigned to travel with us throughout the rest of our two week travels in Kenya, who were totally committed to our safety and protection, and because of whom, we were able to say that a "very bitter lemon" was turned into "the most delicious lemonade."

Dartford, United...
Level Contributor
965 posts
28 reviews
11. Re: Robbery near Kijabe....

TSV - I believe that Doff was referring to the second incident near Isiolo rather than the terrible experience of Leoladie. Kijabe is near Nairobi and there must have been millions of tourists over the past years that have travelled through this area on their way to the parks and have done so without problems. That's not to make light of what happened to the OP but to put the incident into perspective for other travellers.

Mtwapa, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Barcelona, Newcastle upon Tyne, Bamburi, Mtwapa
Level Contributor
14,668 posts
55 reviews
12. Re: Robbery near Kijabe....

I was indeed referring to the Isiolo incident, links to which had been posted in post #1 and #2.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
8,083 posts
37 reviews
13. Re: Robbery near Kijabe....

Thanks for the clarification(s). I hadn't read post #1 before it was removed but did read #2.

The fact that apparently tourists were targeted in the OP's situation, however, would give rise for concern by those with upcoming trips or those who are in the planning stages.

I have also read the other thread on this same topic and appreciate the balanced discussion being provided by folks there, including Sandy who I also have a high regard for.

I grew up the suburbs of Washington, DC and only moved away in the mid 90's so I get the perception that cities and countries get due to "bad news" media attention. I have comfort in "my city" knowing where to go and what to avoid, even though travel inside the DC city limits can be dicey and create fear. I can tell others, especially foreign travellers, that it is OK and they'll be safe . . . but the fact of the matter is, yes it can be very unsafe for visitors. Only the individual or family can make the decision for themselves as to how much risk they wish to take on, especially if it will affect their holiday time. Some of us are simply hardwired to be more worried or concerned by such things, while others may take a "when it's my time, it's my time" attitude.

I thank everyone who posts here in hopes of bringing balance to the discussion. I hope to those having to make decisions, theirs will be respected, whatever they feel necessary for themselves and their family.

Level Contributor
1,706 posts
86 reviews
14. Re: Robbery near Kijabe....


Im very happy you are safe and can reflect on the event with dignity for the people of Kenya. I must ask though, do you believe tribal differences influenced the robbery at all as you mentioned the tribe of your driver and I understand Kikuyu receive many advantages in Kenyan society.

Level Contributor
3 posts
1 review
15. Re: Robbery near Kijabe....

I can't say that tribal differences influenced our robbery; we were in the heart of Kikuyu country, our driver was Kikuyu, and the thugs that robbed us were speaking Kikuyu.....

The police questioned us as to whether we thought the driver "was in on it"...but judging by his behavior, he was a frightened as we were. We were also told by the police that another robbery had happened in that area a few months ago; and the community found out who was responsible. They placed an old tire around the criminals neck/shoulders, threw kerosene on him, and torched him. The police were very matter-of-fact that this is tolerated; and did everything they could to help us feel safe for the rest of our holiday.

Level Contributor
3 posts
238 reviews
16. Re: Robbery near Kijabe....

August 2012

I am very sorry to hear of your situation. Since that time, there are now 2 undercover police watching that specific spot, every day. Additionally Kijabe police have put in a gate, guard and a huge speed bump that all cars must now pass over and through to get into the Kijabe area. I just spent 2+ weeks in Kijabe, and the people there were very upset with what happened to you. I don't think we were there 2 days when we were told of your situation, and how the people of Kijabe responded to your situation. Which was comforting on some level. The whole town got involved in catching the thugs and they had no place to hide. They were caught and killed.

I find it interesting that you traveled to Kijabe. There is nothing to visit, no place to stay, no safe restaurants, and it is an hour drive from Narobi. We stayed at the Bible College and were invited by the locals there to work along side them for 2+ weeks. It is very lush and green and in the mountains.

Don't take me wrong here, I loved Kijabe, and the many people I met there I got to know very well. However, I was invited and under escort by a well respected member or members of the community ALL The Time. The place we stayed in was double locked with an iron gate every night. While I felt safe, I was also reminded every night, as the pad lock was secured, that I was very much in a different culture.

There are things US travelers need to understand about Kenya. If your arm is hanging out the window anywhere in Kenya, and you are wearing a nice watch or diamonds... be prepared for someone to grab it. We were told to leave our gold and diamond jewelry at home and not bring them into Kenya. You are visiting a very poor country where many people do not have food. I did not really understand until I lived among them for 2+ weeks. Some of these people live in mud huts, the size of one of your USA bathrooms and some do not own a pair of shoes.

If you were to visit the slums of Chicago, New York, or any big USA city, then maybe you''d understand. Just as the slums areas of the US are dangerous... so can parts of Kenya. Also the people of Kenya do not like having their picture taken, you need to ask permission and often expect to be paid when given permission.

Each community of Kenya is made of most likely one dominant Tribe. Each tribe has it own culture, and language. If you want to visit some very interesting little towns, make sure you have someone who really knows the area, and the local Tribal language. There are many little ( and very interesting) towns within 10-15 minutes outside of Narobi. Unfortunately the pictures become mental pictures, because taking out a camera, will make people very angry at you.

I am glad you survived that horrible experience. Do know that many of the towns people of Kijabe expressed to me how sorry they are that you were put through that experience. Several told me they wish they knew who you were, so they could express their sympathy. I hope you get a chance to read this, so you know that you had an impact on this community and to this day the people there send you best wishes.

17. Re: Robbery near Kijabe....

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Removed on: 5:15 am, September 02, 2013