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Two abductions and a murder that have left one family shaken

Less than a month after his 40-year-old uncle vanished, Fidel Onyango Rabach, 23, was last seen leaving his house in Chokaa estate on April 23, 2020.

It is reported that he was later picked up and bundled into a waiting car by five armed men. He has never been found to date.

TWO DISAPPEARANCES

The incident happened along Kangundo Road. Since then, his mobile phone has remained switched off and no one has ever heard from him.

His father, Mr Moses Rabach, has turned into a frequent visitor at Kayole and Ruai Police Stations begging the police to assist him to trace his son.

Mr Rabach, however, remains hopeful that his son is still alive and will soon be found.

Seventeen days before his disappearance, his uncle Mr Francis Juma Wanyunda, who was very close to him, disappeared in the same manner but at a different location. Wanyunda was last seen at Bee Center at Umoja-Kayole roundabout.

Both incidents took place in broad daylight, and the family members were tasked by the police with coming up with witnesses who might have seen how they were picked up.

Mr Wanyunda’s lifeless body was later found dumped in a thicket in Kyumbi, Machakos County, 10 kilometers from the Kyumbi Police Station.

To the police Mr Wanyunda was a man of questionable character and lifestyle, but to his family, he was a darling, a loving and caring man.

His brother, Mr Dan Otieno, told Nairobi News that Wanyunda disappeared while in the company of his nephew and niece at Bee Center, where he had taken them for shopping and lunch.

“He did shopping while in the company of the two kids, hired a taxi and was on his way to drop them at their parents’ home when the car he was driving in was stopped by five armed men who cocked their guns and bundled him into a waiting car. That was the last time he was seen alive,” Mr Otieno said.

The taxi driver had to ask the kids for directions to their home and passed the message to the family on what he witnessed before he left with a plea that he did not want to be dragged into the issue.

The family reported the disappearance at Kayole Police Station, and it was recorded on OB number 41/09/4/2020.

LIFELESS BODY FOUND

Since then, the family remained in the dark until Saturday last week when they were informed that Wanyunda’s lifeless body had been found and taken to Machakos mortuary.

According to Mr Otieno, the news was shared from their rural home in Siaya County after police attached to Siaya Police Station summoned his mother and shared the sad news.

“How he ended up in Machakos County remains a mystery, the people who picked him are unknown to date, and we are wondering who are they and why they abducted and killed him,” Mr Otieno said.

Investigations by Nairobi News reveal that the lifeless body was on April 9, 2020 found in the thicket by a herdsman who says that the deceased was completely naked and had bruises all over the body.

A detective based at Kyumbi Police Station said that the officers engaged members of the public who assisted in removing the body from the scene and into a police Land Rover, which ferried it to the morgue.

Photos of the scene that were shared by a source show the body lying in a thicket next to a barbed wire and quite far from human settlement.

Nairobi News has established that the head of homicide in Nairobi had taken up the case and will be assisting in the postmortem.

The family believes that Wanyunda must have been tortured by his captors before he was killed and his body dumped in the thicket.

“His body does not have any bullet wound, but we could clearly see elements of torture which now makes us wonder if at all the people who picked him were armed why did they chose to torture him to death,” Mr Otieno said.

It is unclear how his body ended up in Machakos County with the ongoing lockdown within the Nairobi Metropolitan.

UNWILLING TO TALK

Sources have told Nairobi News that the officers who picked Mr Wanyunda are attached to Kayole Police Station and are known by members of the public.

The discovery of his body sent chills among the officers who were involved in the operation.

“We were even given some names, but whenever we ask about it, we are told off,” a human right activist based in Kayole told Nairobi News.

Just like the family was tasked to go and find witnesses who were ready to speak out on how the deceased was picked, Mr Rabach, whose son is missing, was told the same by police based at Kayole Police Station when he reported the matter which is recorded on OB number 22/30/4/2020.

“The police told me to get witnesses who can assist in the investigations. I am very green on matters security. How do I even get one person who is ready to give information on what happened?” Mr Rabach posed.

According to his neighbours in Chokaa, Fidel is a silent man, and it’s very difficult to know when he is around or not.

However, the caretaker of the building he lives in said that he last saw him on April 22, 2020, and since then, he has never heard from him.

Mr Rabach has since visited the house where his son lives, but none of the neighbours were willing to talk to him about his son.

“We then opted to report the matter to Ruai Police Station, but the officers told me to be patient and that my son would be back,” Mr Rabach said, adding that the officers told him they are many reasons Fidel might have disappeared.

The family said that they still had hopes that Fidel was safe and would be found alive.

ANOTHER DISAPPEARANCE

Yet another disappearance is that of human rights activist Michael Nyambura Njau alias Gorba attached to Kiamaiko Justice Center.

Mr Njau disappeared on Friday, April 24, 2020, while he was in the company of two others as they were driving from Thika to Nairobi.

The other two who were with the activist have been identified as Adan Mohammed Saibu and a taxi driver known as Samuel Mungai.

Nairobi News has established that Mr Njau was closely following the recent shooting of a 13-year-old boy Yassin Moyo by police officers who was seated on his balcony on March 30, 2020, while they were enforcing curfew orders.

“He was on the fore-front in calling for justice for the family and the minor who was killed in cold blood. He was of great help to the investigating team, and we hope wherever he is, all is well,” an official at Kiamaiko Community Justice Center said.

He was also crucial in various investigations on the disappearances and killing of youth in the vast Kiamaiko area.

Michael Njau, the human rights activist from Kiamaiko Justice Centre, who has been reported missing. PHOTO | COURTESY
Michael Njau, the human rights activist from Kiamaiko Justice Centre, who has been reported missing. PHOTO | COURTESY

However, police maintain that the motive behind their disappearance is still unknown, and investigations are ongoing.

Contacted Mr Mohamed Bakari, the DCIO boss in Thika, said: “Investigations into the matter are still ongoing and for now we cannot speculate anything.”

Police say that their investigations reveal that all three phones of the victims were switched off at the Ruaraka area.

A statement by the Justice Center revealed that Mr Njau’s phone was lastly traced at bypass Ruiru. Also, the car that the trio was traveling in was abandoned in Githurai 45.

“We suspect that it can be police abduction, and we are asking for help to trace their whereabouts,” the statement read in part.

TORTURED AND MURDERED

Investigations by Nairobi News indicate that activists and family members have searched for the trio in 30 police stations based in Kiambu and Nairobi counties.

They have also searched for them in 11 hospitals and morgues so far.

Human rights activists who Nairobi News interviewed said it is crucial to make a report as soon as a member of the family goes missing, especially within Eastlands.

“If they raise concerns and engaged the media in time, most likely, they are never harmed but when the affected families remain silent and opt to search for their kin silently bad things are likely to happen,” one activist said.

According to Missing Voices, an online website that documents and reports matters of extra-judicial, six people have been abducted in Kiamaiko and later found tortured or murdered far off from Kiamaiko.

“We can confirm Anthony Kinuthia as a victim to this. There’s a witness to this, and he can confirm the abduction. He was buried one week ago. After his abduction, another victim ‘Jush’ also went missing and was found murdered in a similar manner,” Missing Voices said.

Kinuthia is reported to have gone missing on April 5, 2020, and was found dead a week later. The postmortem report revealed that he had broken limbs with his eyes gorged out. The family suspects that he was tortured by the police who abducted him.

A witness to his abduction revealed that he and Kinuthia were accosted by men in civilian clothes, with guns and handcuffs. They were ordered to stop, but he ran away. Kinuthia was forcefully arrested and bundled into a car.

Other witnesses at the scene, who are now in hiding, confirmed that there were two cars with a group of men and two women.