Pastor under probe for holding children in ramshackle centre

A boy plucks firewood from a blue gum tree at Kionganyo in Kisii County. [Sammy Omingo, Standard)]

Government officials have rescued 19 children from a children's home in Nairobi and reunited them with their families in Endebess, Trans Nzoia County.

The children aged between 10 and 16 years were among 41 allegedly found at a children's home in Kasarani Constituency, Nairobi. 

The children, mostly from vulnerable families are alleged to have been taken to the centre earlier this year to get educational support. The victims are said to have been lured by a local pastor who had promised to take care of their education. 

Karasani Sub-County Children's Services Officer Loyce Azingale and a team of officials from Children's Services and Child Welfare Society over the weekend ferried the children back home and reunited them with their families.

Azingale, during an interview, said the children were rescued in March by a multi-agency team after an intelligence tip-off.

"We found that so many children had arrived at the centre and after a probe, we visited and rescued them," said Azingale. 

They were taken to a safe government facility where tracing of their families and homes started. They were also counselled before being integrated into the community. 

"This case is with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to ascertain the motive of the clergy to ferry children from their homes to Nairobi," said the officer. National Council for Children Services officer Emmanuel Mugesani, said the children's centre did not meet the requisite requirements. 

Mercy Nyokabi, a Child Welfare Society official said the children have been given home-based care to ensure a smooth integration process.