Family's agony in 11-year wait for missing AP officer

Volfrida Mwandawa during an interview at home in Kabartonjo,Baringo county on May 25,2023. Her husband Daniel Aengwo in the background then an Administration Police Office based in Kisumu disappeared 11 years ago. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Volfrida Mwandawa is still haunted by the day, 11 years ago, when her husband Daniel Aengwo, then an Administration Police (AP) Officer, called and promised to visit her and their nine children.

Mwandawa was hopeful as she had not seen him for almost a month, and was elated by the news that he was coming home from where he worked at the Kisumu East Deputy Commissioner's Office. Aengwo also sent her Sh30,000 to pay school fees for the children, and buy shoes for them.

However, 11 years on, Mwandawa and the children are still waiting for Aengwo's arrival to their home in Kabartonjo, Baringo.

She says before he disappeared, Aengwo had borrowed a loan of an undisclosed amount from a local financial institution as the family was going through financial challenges.

“I do not know how much he borrowed, but the money was meant for school fees for the two children at a secondary school in Baringo,” said Mwandawa.

The family routinely called each other every day, but when Mwandawa tried to reach her husband, the call was disconnected and he went offline.

Two weeks passed without any reports from her husband, only for her husband's cousin to break the news of his disappearance.

Mwandawa travelled to Kisumu but when she reached Aengwo's house, she was told that he had left the door unlocked. He disappeared wearing civilian clothes and slippers.

After accessing the house, Mwandawa noticed that the place was disorganised which was unlike her husband. She alleged to have been denied permission to ferry her husband's belongings.

The 43-year-old was reported missing without a trace in June 2012, which has remained to be a puzzle yet to be solved. Since then, Mwandawa survives with some support from her brother-in-law to raise the children.

"The situation affected my children mentally. My first-born child was frustrated. My sons schooled in a day school and tuition fees are still a challenge to me, I don't know where to get school fees," she said.

She recalled a moment she contemplated killing her children and herself but something changed after seeing her children gathered in one place eating their evening meal.

"I wanted to end everything, had lost hope, I didn't want to see my children suffering, but after three hours of planning, something changed and I thank God for that," she added.

Mwandawa hopes that one day she will receive her husband's gratitude to assist in raising her children who are still in school.

"I have tried as a mother to take care of my children. One day I know God will reward me, challenges are there but I will manage,” she added.

Laban Aengwo, brother to Daniel, said efforts to get help and information from the office where his brother was working have been in vain.

He alleged that he received information of his brother's disappearance through his cousin who works in Kisumu. He claimed that his brother’s boss was mean in giving out information concerning the man, frustrating every effort in getting to understand what had led to his disappearance.

"He disappeared while at work, my cousin told us about the disappearance, they work within the same locality so it is easier for him to notice since then we have tried but in vain to look for him, his office was not helping," he added.

He said his mother died two years later from depression following the disappearance of Daniel. In 2022, his father died too, hoping that his son would be found.

Daniel was declared dead in 2019 after the family filed a petition at Kabarnet High Court.

To this day, Aengwo's disappearance not only remains a perplexing mystery but an agonizing open wound for his siblings, wife and nine children.

The National Police Service is yet to respond to our inquiry about the progress of the investigations into Aengwo's disappearance.