Police on the spot as girl goes missing

Relatives of the defiled girl. [Weldon Kemboi]
The family of a girl who disappeared from police custody three weeks ago is seeking the intervention of Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji and Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i.

The 13-year-old pupil of Mtongwe Primary School in Likoni went missing as she was being held at the Likoni Police Station on January 24.

Police and the girl's family have given contradictory accounts on the missing teen, who is supposed to be preparing for this year's Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exams.

Last month, police claimed the girl vanished at the Likoni District Hospital, where she had been taken for a medical examination over claims of defilement by a man in police custody.

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Police conduct

Her family, however, refuted the police version of the events and have reported the matter to the Independent Policing Oversight Authority, demanding a probe into the conduct of the officers at Likoni Police Station.

Police claimed the girl fled from the custody of two policewomen with a copy of the medical report after they left the hospital.

But her sister said she accompanied the girl to the police cells, where she was locked up. She said she believed the police version of events was intended to conceal certain facts and absolve the two officers.

Although the local police boss promised to investigate the conduct of the two officers, The Standard established that they were still in service and it is unclear whether the pledged internal probe occurred or revealed anything.

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The family wants the police to say where the girl is, saying they are tired of searching for her.

"The two female police officers know the whereabouts of my sister. Let them produce her dead or alive to end the tribulations we are suffering. Our only hope lies in the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Interior CS," said the girl's sister.

The saga started on January 23 when the girl, who lives with her uncle in Likoni, failed to return from an errand to the market.

Her sister claimed that she saw her in Likoni the next day in the company of a man. She filed a police report and both her sister and the man were arrested and held at Likoni Police Station.

The girl was allegedly later taken for a medical examination, but has not been seen since.

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Likoni police boss Benjamin Rotich said that on January 24, officers took the girl for tests at the Likoni District Hospital but she disappeared soon after leaving the hospital.

Other police accounts said the girl fled with the medical report, but it is not clear why the two female officers did not give chase or try to apprehend her.

Yesterday, Rotich confirmed that the girl was still missing. He gave little information beyond seeking help from the public. "We are still looking for her. We are calling on anyone with information to share it with us so we can trace the teen."

But the missing teen's sister has given a new account of what allegedly happened on January 24.

Chased away

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"We went to Likoni hospital. My sister was ushered in for examination but I was chased away by the medics. Only the two policewomen were allowed inside," she said yesterday.

She claimed she waited nearby and saw her sister leave with the officers. She claimed she followed them from a distance and saw her sister return to the station.

She further alleged that after her sister was locked up in the cells, police called and asked her to accompany them to Mtongwe Primary School to confirm whether the girl was a pupil there.

The sister claimed she overheard one of the officers speaking on a cellphone, saying the girl had vanished from the cells.

After the call, the sister said, the trip to the school was cancelled and they returned to the station. She said she was told to go around Mama Ngina Drive, where the girl and the man in custody had been arrested, to search for her sister.

“I didn't believe what I heard," she said, adding that police later showed her an entry in the occurrence book indicating her sister had been booked there for 24 hours after her arrest.

The girl’s uncle said police had been taking the family round in circles and claimed that junior officers were feeding their seniors with false information.

The State had applied to hold the defilement suspect in custody pending the filing of formal charges. The case was mentioned yesterday and the court extended his stay in detention.

Director of Public ProsecutionsNoordin HajiFred Matiang'iMtongwe Primary SchoolLikoni District HospitalMinorDefilement