Writer jumps from car to escape kidnappers

Nation Newspaper journalist Barack Oduor speaks to journalists at Nyanza regional CID headquarters in Kisumu September 4, 2018. Oduor who narrowly escaped death in hands of kidnappers now blames Migori Governor Okoth Obado over the tribulations.  [Photo: JAMES OMORO/STANDARD]

The police in Kisumu and Migori are investigating the abduction of a journalist. The journalist was abducted as he pursued an alleged sour love relation between a university student and a prominent politician.

Mr Barack Oduor, a journalist with Nation Media Group based in Homa Bay, jumped out of a speeding vehicle to escape the abductors on Monday night.

The journalist yesterday recorded a statement at Nyanza region’s DCI headquarters.

Migori DCI boss Benedict Kigen yesterday said they had arrested a man said to be a personal assistant to a Migori leader, and who was present when Mr Oduor was kidnapped at a hotel in Rongo in Migori County.

Love gone sour

When The Standard caught up with the journalist at Kisumu Central Police Station, he was struggling to walk. He had bruises on his knees and hands.

Oduor told journalists he suspected he was kidnapped because of a story he was investigating over a love gone sour between the politician and a student.

According to Oduor, the girl, said to be a second year student at Rongo University in Migori County, alleged that she had been impregnated by the politician.

Oduor had planned to meet the politician’s aide and the girl at Rodi-Kopany Township in Homa-Bay County. The aide was to issue a statement on behalf of the politician.

He met the girl at Rodi Kopany, but the aide called, requesting that the venue be changed to Rongo town in Migori County.

Oduor said he and the student boarded a matatu to Rongo and stayed in a hotel for about 40 minutes as they waited for the leader’s aide to arrive.

On arrival, the aide told them the hotel environment was unfavourable for the meeting.

“When we got out of the hotel, he told us to board his vehicle so we could move to a different hotel within Rongo town. He was with the driver and a co-driver,” said Oduor.

What surprised the journalist was that instead of heading to Rongo town, they were driven towards Homa-Bay town.

A few metres away, the vehicle stopped for two other men to board.

“We sat in the middle. One man was in the far left and the other far right seat. They ordered us to surrender our phones and all property we had. That is when I knew we had been abducted,” said Oduor.

The driver went past Homa-Bay town towards Kendu Bay.

At Kadel trading centre, before Kendu Bay, Oduor says the abductors started strangling Oduor while the vehicle was moving fast. He said he struggled, opened the door and jumped out of the vehicle.

This culminated in injuries on his knees and hands.

Oduor lost Sh2, 000, a job card and a mobile phone in the hands of the abductors.

He moved to a nearby home where a Good Samaritan took him to Kadel Police Post, before being taken to a hospital in Kendu Bay. He later recorded a statement at Kendu Bay Police Station.

Oduor was later referred to the Aga Khan Hospital in Kisumu for further medication.

Yesterday afternoon, Oduor recorded more statements with the Nyanza Regional DCI offices in Kisumu.

“I suspect I was kidnapped to prevent publication of the story,” said Oduor.

Meanwhile, the girl went missing after the incident and had not been traced by yesterday evening.

Homa Bay County Police Commander Marius Tum said they had crucial leads that would enable them to arrest some of the suspects implicated in the incident.

Following the attack, journalists in the region camped at the police headquarters in solidarity with Oduor and asked police to ensure his attackers were brought to book.

Dickson Odhiambo, the chairman of Kisumu Journalists Network, said the incident was an attack on Press freedom.