• Armed with their catapults, sticks and bags of stones, the children aged between seven and 13 years left home at around 9am.
• They headed to the Mabiu Kivonga mangrove forest to hunt monkeys and weaver birds as they have done every weekend. But this time, they never made it back home.
A search has been mounted for eight children who were reported missing after they failed to return from a hunting trip in a forest in Kizingitini Island in Lamu East on Sunday.
Armed with their catapults, sticks and bags of stones, the children aged between seven and 13 years left home at around 9am.
They headed to the Mabiu Kivonga mangrove forest to hunt monkeys and weaver birds as they have done every weekend. But this time, they never made it back home.
Shocked parents and villagers have appealed for help to locate the children who are suspected to have gotten lost on their way back home.
Kizingitini headman Kassim Shee said on Monday that this was the first time the children had failed to return from a hunting trip.
“We got worried when evening came and they were nowhere to be found. We will make sure to find them. Maybe they got lost on their way back,” he said.
Omar Najah whose son is among the missing said they are worried about the safety of the children who hadn’t been located by Sunday evening.
“I last saw my son on Saturday morning. He didn’t tell me he was going hunting. I got worried when he hadn’t returned by 6pm. I hope I will see my child again,” Najah said.
Fatuma Badi whose son is also missing said they were optimistic the children would be found as they had already reported the matter to the police.
“I couldn’t even sleep not knowing where my son was. My heart is racing but I am trusting Allah to keep them safe wherever they are,” she said.
Kizingitini elder Khaldun Vae blamed parents for being too lenient with their kids and failing to teach them properly.
“We used to hunt a long time ago but things have changed now. We live in days where you have to keep an eye on your child. I am shocked that in this day and age, parents would allow small children out to hunt on their own. Let's teach our children well so they don’t disappoint us,” he said.
Lamu East OCPD Emmanuel Okanda said he had been informed about seven missing children and not eight.
“Yes, a report has been filed about seven missing children. We are treating the matter as lost children. We can’t say they are missing as 48 hours hasn’t lapsed yet since they failed to return,” Okanda said.