Relatives of abductees ask state to release victims

Haki Africa has recorded over 235 cases of people who were abducted by the police or disappeared

In Summary
  •  Haki Afrika's rapid response officer Mathias Shipeta,  said their organisation had recorded over 235 cases of people who were abducted by police or disappeared.
  • Of all the 235 cases, less than 30 have been released, he said. 


In the last two years, six of Najib Mohamed's family members— five men and a woman—have been abducted by the police.

Four were released, but the whereabouts of two is still unknown.

Mohammed's younger brother, Athman Haji, was coming from the mosque at lunchtime on January 17, 2020, when he was abducted by unknown people and bundled into a car whose registration number was KCD 594S.

Idria Omar, his other brother, was summoned to a police station in Lamu to record a statement. When he arrived at the station, he was thrown into a car and was taken to an unknown place. 

Mohammed’s family has reported all these cases to the Independent Policing Oversight Authority but nothing fruitful has come by.

However, from the recent disbandment of the Special Service Unit and the current interrogation of the perceived rogue police officers, Mohammed's family is hopeful they shall get their loved ones alive.

Mohammed and 20 others whose relatives disappeared in the last four years gathered at Haki Afrika's offices in Mombasa, where they issued a press statement.

They asked President William Ruto to expedite the ongoing clean up at the National Police Service, particularly the defunct Special Service Unit, which the President said was responsible for "killing civilians and dumping their bodies in River Yala". 

Regina Karimi broke down while narrating how her husband disappeared mysteriously. Karimi said the husband was seized in Mombasa central business district during the daytime on August 14, 2020. 

"They chased him in a car, and when they caught up with him, they broke his windscreen and pulled him out and took him away. I have never seen him again," she said.

Karimi said she had visited every government office looking for her husband with no success.

"I went to the DCI headquarters and IPOA, but they didn't help me. I'm sure it's the government and not robbers who abducted my husband. Please help me get my husband," she said.

A teary Mwaka Tsawila also recounted how her son, Rajab Haji, was kidnaped from his home in Likoni on June 20, 2021. Haji, a Madrasa teacher, was carried away by the police against his wish. 

The police officers, who she said were from Nairobi, took him away at midnight without giving reasons. 

Sheikh Hussein also pleaded for his senior brother and cousin, kidnapped by the police on October 30, 2020.

His elder brother, Mohamed Hussein, was also abducted from his home in Funzi Island, Kwale county. Mohammed was a mason and a fisherman. 

"We can't tell if he was a criminal, but if he were, we would ask the government to charge him in court," he said.

On the day Hussein was seized by people believed to be police, other cops in a Land Cruiser trailed Harun Kondo, his cousin, up to Ramisi, where they stopped his Probox car and pulled him, pointing machine guns at him. They went away with him.

Zahra Omar also fought back tears as he narrated the forced disappearance of Hussein Mohamad, her son.

Mohamad and two of his friends had traveled to Thika to buy a matatu in December 2021. On their return journey, they were stopped at Mazeras in Kilifi county and taken away by unknown people. The car they were traveling in was found in Voi at midnight. 

"We were called to the office of DPP in Nairobi and recorded statements. The DPP told us that our matter would be attended to. It is 11 months now, but we don't know anything about our son," she said. 

The two men who were abducted with Mohamad were found dead in Thika and Nairobi's City Mortuary.

"We have visited several mortuaries looking for our son, but we have not found him. We ask the government to release our son, or if they killed him, let them tell us, so we have peace," the mother said.

Haki Afrika's rapid response officer Mathias Shipeta said their organisation had recorded over 235 cases of people who were abducted by the police or disappeared.

Of all the 235 cases, less than 30 have been released, he said. The activist asked the government to release those who the SSU officers abducted. 

Shipeta said those who were released from abduction were held in private areas where they were being questioned about terrorism, violence, and crimes of murder.

"Now that the SSU has been disbanded, please release its victims so that they can reunite with their families," he said.

Shipeta said Haki Afrika has given the government a 14-day ultimatum to release the abducted people, failure to which they will call for demonstrations against the government and file a joint legal suit for all the affected families.


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