Duncan Oduor, a 55-year-old mass media lecturer, took the night Guardian Coach from Nairobi on Friday May 18 with his destination being Rongo, where he had a lecture at Rongo University at 7am the following morning. But he ended up being found on the roadside in Migori, drugged and unconscious. He narrated his ordeal to ELVIS ONDIEKI.
“I don’t think it was the single biscuit a woman gave me in the bus that could make me so unconscious as to fail to notice when I alighted. I believe I was injected with something more lethal.
In hospital, after I had come to my senses after blacking out for more than 36 hours, the doctor told me that this was a very serious drug; that what saved me was that my body had no any other illness. Had my body had an illness, he said, this drug could have reacted with it and I could be gone.
This whole thing began by me booking seat number 35 on the Guardian bus. My plan was to reach Rongo by 5.30am on Saturday, which would give me time to prepare for my 7am class. My seat was next to the window; a good spot.
On number 36, there was a light-skinned, short and slightly plump woman, who introduced herself as Hellen, a Tanzanian. We spoke about many things. She said she is doing business; that she was going to Mwanza.
She sounded very eloquent, very learned. But now I think she is a sophisticated con lady.
She gave this impression that she was very friendly, very social, ready to go out, ready to mingle, also a businesswoman looking for opportunities.
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Most buses from Nairobi to Nyanza usually stop in Narok to enable passengers and bus crew to freshen up. Our bus docked in Narok at around 2.30 am that night.
She alighted, I think to buy some snacks. I had bought a cake from Nairobi because I don’t eat on the way that much. So, I ate my cake a small packet of milk, then she came and we continued the journey at around 3am.
In Narok, I tried to charge my phone using the laptop I was carrying on my bag. My charger had some issues and it did not charge the phone. I told her, ‘Madam, since we are travelling together, you never know. In this world we might meet. Let’s take a photo.’
She refused. She said, ‘Ah. ’Mi naogopa kuchukua picha (I fear taking photos).’ I said, ‘Fine, you know many people refuse.’
Then she said, ‘You can check me on Facebook’. I said, ‘Alright, fine.’
Then I returned my laptop to the bag and then we proceeded with the journey.
Then she started eating biscuits, which were in a brown paper.
And she said, ‘Oh, siwezi kula peke yangu (I can’t eat alone). As Africans, we have to share.’ So, she gave me a small biscuit which was too sugary.
Since she was eating, I had no doubt in my mind that this was a genuine thing. So, I ate this biscuit and it took a while, I think, before it got into my body. I can’t remember where I dozed off totally.
I was found dumped first of all in Sirare, on the roadside. My bag was just next to me. The people who were there thought I was one of those travellers who normally drink. So, they took it lightly.
What shocked them is that there was a white Probox that came and I was dragged into it and it dropped me in Migori, again on the roadside.
Bodaboda guys got curious and tried to chase this Probox but it fled. According to them, the number plate was kind of smeared with mud; they could not see it properly. So, they tried to search my bag.
Somehow they found my brother’s phone number. They called my brother. I was taken to Migori County Referral Hospital where my relatives came to see me. My native home is in West Sakwa, Migori County. So, when they came, I was being treated, I could not talk. I could not recognise anyone for two days.
We left hospital on Sunday evening. On my right hand are the scars of the needles injected to deliver medication, and a few centimetres away there is a suspicious scar. I think this is where the drug was injected.
Following the drugging, my laptop and its charger were stolen, same as my two mobile phones, my wallet and a power bank.
When I went to complain to the Guardian Angel’s office before I returned to Nairobi, I asked them about the women who was seated next to me on seat number 36. I told them that she drugged me then stole my items.
They told me that name she used while booking is Irene Mwikali, not Hellen as she had told me. They also gave me her phone number.
On Monday, I made a report at Kamagambo police station and the officers told me they would follow up on the case.
I went to the Guardian office in Nairobi and told them that I was drugged by one of their passengers and my items stolen. I needed the company to pay them back. I believe it was collusion with the bus crew: How can somebody be dragged out of the bus and be dumped outside while nobody cares?
They said that was not their responsibility; they don’t know if we knew each other from Nairobi.
After that, I called the police, the 999 line. I gave them the details also. They also said they are following up the issue.
I am a lecturer at not only Rongo University but also St Paul’s and Multimedia Universities. After getting over the ordeal, I’ve started going back to class and I’m glad I’m still alive and available to be the breadwinner for my wife and our three-year-old son.”
Guardian Coach’s response
The Sunday Nation on Friday contacted Guardian Coach through the helpline on their website.
A man who said he was a manager said they were not aware of Mr Oduor’s complaint.
“If he has reported the case, we have not been served. If it must have been served, it must be the Kisii office, which is the regional office. This thing must be done in a very professional way,” said the manager.
He added: “We don’t drug passengers. We have warnings all over in our buses, telling passengers not to eat anything from any person.”
An interview he promised to do with our reporter on Friday evening did not succeed as the reporter, who visited the company’s offices in Nairobi, was told he was away.