• Neighbours, relatives and child rights activists believe the man knows where the missing 12-year-old girl is.
• The community in Kiembeni has been infuriated by his release and say they will soon take action against him.
Attempts to compel a man suspected to have hidden his daughter after being accused of defiling her to reveal her whereabouts have hit a snag.
Neighbours, relatives and child rights activists believe the man, who was last Thursday arrested but released later after the complainant failed to record a statement, knows where the missing 12-year-old girl is.
The man, who has been living with his three daughters at Kiembeni in Mombasa after they separated with his wife five years ago, has become an outcast. Nobody wants anything to do with him in the neighbourhood.
Muslims for Human Rights and Kiembeni Child Development Centre fear for his life and that of his daugters.
The community in Kiembeni has been infuriated by his release and say they will soon take action against him.
Police say their hands are tied.
Kisauni subcounty police commander Julius Kiragu said the man is supposed to report to the Kiembeni police station every Wednesday morning.
“He will be reporting to the station regularly because we could not hold him longer yet there is no complainant. The 24-hour rule is in play,” Kiragu said.
He said they have engaged the village elders, social workers and other community members to ensure the girl is traced and found.
“The girl is nowhere to be seen. There is no way we can take someone to court without the complainant,” Kiragu said.
Kiembeni Child Development Centre project director Eddah Ocholla said, “His relatives from Ukambani even came to Mombasa to persuade him to release the child to them so they can take her to Ukambani with them.
“But he keeps on telling them he will soon take them to where the girl is but does not do it.”
The 12-year-old girl’s cousin, who is 19, is also said to have been sleeping with her. Ocholla explained that the girl’s father caught the two in bed and started beating the girl.
“That is when the girl started crying, asking her father why he is beating her yet he also does the same with her. This is when a relative heard and came to our office to report,” Ocholla said.
The cousin is believed to be involved in the disappearance of the girl because he has since gone into hiding.
“The 19-year-old cousin was on Saturday seen in the neighbourhood. We believe he knows where the girl is because it was because of him that this whole case was known,” said Ocholla.
Muhuri gender officer Topister Juma said the police need to put more effort in tracing the girl.
She said the longer it takes, the more danger the girl’s life is in.
“She needs to be taken to hospital for check-up. We don’t know if she has been impregnated or infected with any disease. This can be done only through a doctor,” Juma said.
The girl’s two sisters, who are currently at a rescue centre, also need to be counselled, she noted.
“It is possible that these two may know what is going on but are too afraid to speak,” Juma said.
TShe noted that the man could be in danger because the community is still angry with him.
“They might attack him. The community might not understand the circumstances under which he was released,” Juma added.
She said legislators need to review the Sexual Offences Act to address such scenarios.
“Right now, the girl is a minor and does not understand the gravity of the situation. She is the only one whose statement will commence the prosecution process. She is missing. How do we go forward from here?” she posed.