Hillary Mageka and Sophia Njoka
Three men abducted in separate incidents in as many weeks were all freed by their captors at the weekend.
Mystery surrounding the abductions on August 18, August 31 and September 8, deepened on Sunday after Muslim scholar Abdiwahab Sheikh Abdisamad, Mombasa businessman Abdulhakim Sagar and Nairobi resident Josiah Waiguru Gathungu were all released but none of them was willing to share their ordeal.
The kidnappings were done in an almost similar manner, a modus operandi indicative of the work of a well-organised group of abductors.
Sources said local and foreign agents, for example, held Abdisamad, at an undisclosed location where he was grilled over issues about Kenya, Somalia and two other countries.
The Executive Director of the Institute for Horn of Africa Strategic Studies and analyst at Southlink Consultants, was abducted by unknown men on Tubman Road in Nairobi on September 8 after he was wrestled by four men who handcuffed him before bundling him into a double cabin pick-up, registration number KCW341Y.
Many people including security guards witnessed the daring 10am abduction but the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) said the number plate was illegal and had not been registered to anyone in their database.
In another case on August 18, seven armed men accosted Sagar at Old Town, Mombasa and bundled him into a waiting double cabin pick-up, registration number KBQ 035C which sped away.
Though the Coast regional commissioner John Elungata said the man had been arrested by police officers and was assisting with investigations, the regional police boss Manase Musyoka later said police had not arrested the man and that the only report they had was of a missing person made at Central Police station, Mombasa. Gathungu had not been missing since August 31.
“Our brother, Dr Abdiwahab Abdisamad has been released. I wish to thank all the defenders of freedom in our country and abroad who stood by our valued scholar/warrior for regional peace and stability,” former Lagdera MP Farah Maalim said in a tweet.
Wajir Senator Ali Abdullahi had on Wednesday last week challenged the State to come clean on the alleged abduction and disappearance of Prof Abdisamad.
“Outline the measures the Ministry of Interior has put in place, if any, to establish the whereabouts of Abdisamad and any other missing person and to bring to book the persons involved in such heinous acts,” Senator Ali said in a statement to the Standing Committee on National Security, Defence and Foreign Relations.
Released in forest
On Sunday, Sagar was released by his abductors in a forest near Voi town, who gave him Sh2,000 bus fare to Mombasa.
“Whereas we are happy that he was released safely and in good health, our concerns and questions still remain: Who abducted him?
What was the motive of the abduction,” Mombasa Senator Mohammed Faki asked yesterday.
Sagar, through his brother Farid Sagar, said his abductors, whom he believes were police officers, held him incommunicado at an unknown area for a month.
Farid said his brother took a boda boda and directed the rider to drop him at the nearest stage where he would board a bus to Mombasa.
“My brother informed us that he was set free by his captives, at an area near Tsavo park, in Voi.
He was ordered to get his own means and go back to his family; he waited until 5am in the morning to travel,” Farid said.
He further revealed that though his brother was never tortured he was unable to narrate events of his kidnapping.
“He is still traumatised by the events of the last one month and he has since checked into a medical facility,” said Farid.
The family declined to release further information on his return, noting that their kin needed time to recuperate, before releasing information about his ordeal.
However, according to documents tabled in court last week, an inquiry file number 1 of 2021 had been opened to establish the whereabouts of Sagar.
In his sworn affidavit, Coast regional police commander Musyoka had informed the court that Sagar was not arrested by police, nor was he in police custody.
“At no time was Sagar arrested or detained by police, that police do not abduct … during the abduction I was not aware of any security operation by any unit of the police service relating to Sagar,” he said.
Police have further denied that Sagar had been kidnapped by police over suspected involvement in terrorism activities in the country.
According to Senator Faki, the abduction of Sagar is similar to that of Muslim cleric Khalid Kaka who was taken from his home in Mtondia in August 2020 and driven to an unknown destination where he was tortured and interrogated for three weeks before being released.