Like the rest of the defence forces, 50th ACB has been undergoing significant expansion in recent years, with the acquisition of Russian Mi-28 and Chinese ZW9E attack helicopters, among other equipment. About a year before the alleged incident, it received Ulan Ude Mi-171 attack helicopters from Russian state owned corporation Rosoboronexport.
These choppers were involved in the action in Somalia. The base also received Russian-made Kamov 50 Hokum helicopter gunships last year and houses French-made Rafale fighter jets, both of which have been used in Somalia. Destroying any of this equipment would have set back Operation Linda Nchi.
In his statement to the ATPU, Maina claims to have foiled an attempt by two people to enter the secure facility at Embakasi. This allegedly set off began a series of odd encounters that escalated to a kidnapping on Nairobi’s Moi Avenue in February.
Minister not briefed
“On January 12, while on duty at around 8.30pm (at the medical batallion), I was approached by two men who claimed to be warrant officers in the Embakasi Kenya Air Force Technical Training College Department,” the officer claims. He says the men asked for him by name and for the detachment’s commander.
The officer says the men were interested in him because he is the custodian of several key passwords to critical security information.
“They told me they had been posted to Kaftec from Laikipia Airbase in November last year, after which they had proceeded on leave in December before reporting back in January.”
The two men, dressed in army fatigues, wanted access to Kaftec and the 50th ACB aircraft hangars. However, he says he noticed that manner in which his visitors had folded their sleeves indicated they were either trainees or impostors.
Maina claims he refused them entry, but did not report the matter to anyone. Strangely, he agreed to meet them again at a city restaurant later to discuss his computer knowledge. He says he met five men, including the fake Kaftec officers, who threatened him repeatedly, asked about classified information and stole his mobile phone.
Again, he did not report the matter to anyone. Instead, he made plans to flee to Dubai. Maina says he was attacked again in February, taken to Eastleigh, his military ID card and cell-phone confiscated and threats made against his life and that of his father and wife. His captors, he said, warned him to cooperate with them then drove him to Thika town and left him there.
The soldier now claims his kidnapper was Mr Emrah Erdogan, a foreigner named as a suspect in a fertiliser bomb attack on Moi Avenue three weeks ago.
However, Erdogan (alias Imraan al-Kurdy alias Salahaddin al-Kurdy) was reported to be in Kismayu at the time of the alleged incident. Investigators also doubt this thread of the soldier’s narrative, because Al Shabaab do not release captives this easily.
Oddly, the police say they are holding a man from Nakuru identified only as Ochieng’ who claims to have been dumped in Thika by Erdogan. Maina says he went into hiding after the kidnapping, only emerging when the police published pictures of terror suspects Ahmed Khaled Andreas Martin Muller and Erdogan.