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A boy kidnapped, killed and disfigured

BUSINESS
By | September 15th 2009

Cyrus Ombati

They dragged him away, his frail hands dangling in the air, and not long thereafter, ended his six years on earth, leaving behind weeping parents and shattered dreams. The stunned face of the six-year-old, awash with childish innocence and tenderness, did not move the new brood of Kenya’s killers, who kidnap for money and kill if it does not come.

Even in death, they would still cruelly skin him, cut off his jaw and wrap it on one of the public appeals his father pinned on shops, then dumped the body near the home where a warm embrace from his mum and dad always awaited him. Born of Sudanese parents, six-year-old Agwar Adar was given the baptismal name Emmanuel, which in the Bible means ‘God with us’.

Neighbours outside Adar’s grandmother’s gate where his abductors dumped his charred body on Monday.

But as it were that day as he left his grandmother’s house for his parent’s, both in the sprawling Komarock Estate, they came for him.

His body was dumped in a trench near his grandmother’s house. It was doused in a corrosive chemical, skinned and its private parts severed, a bizarre act that Police say has become the trademark of the outlawed Mungiki sect.

A week earlier he had been playing happily with his mates, enjoying the thrill of boyish games outside the cold walls of the classroom. It had been laughter and play all around the kids’ world, as the ‘angels’ of death closed in.

Emmanuel, the son of a Sudanese refugee family, eking out a living in faraway lands having escaped the deathtrap that is their country, was taken out to his death.

They lost their child in what they felt was the safest corner they could afford, an even in death as they hugged and wept on each other’s shoulders, they could not comprehend what kind of human beasts would butcher an innocent soul, and for ‘sins’ they could not even imagine.

His death ironically unravelled as new Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere met Provincial Police Officers for the first time to share with them his vision for a safe and secure nation.

The death, that followed Emmanuel’s kidnap last week, left Kenyans asking hard questions about a mode of crime that is getting out of control — and making many wonder whose child or kin is next. Two questions stood out as neighbours ringed his lifeless body — did he have to die and what did he do to deserve this?

Burning question

When they took him, his uncle was called and told to pay a ransom for his release. Now the burning question — how long how long will these gangs hold the nation to ransom?

Emmanuel got home from school on Thursday and his mother Susan Adit served him a cup of tea. Their house girl helped Emmanuel change his clothes before he dashed out to join his neighbourhood friends.

The boy’s jaw plucked out by the kidnappers. [PHOTO: Francis Maweu/STANDARD]

After a little play outside their house, he decided to walk to his grandmother’s house about two kilometers down the tarmacked road.

Before dusk could set in, Grace Awiti, the house help realised it was getting cold. "Emmanuel must be feeling cold," she thought as she picked his jacket to take to him.

She did not find him and, assuming he was in the neighbourhood, left the jacket with the other children who promised to give him. "Tell him to come home immediately," she told the two boys as they ran off with the jacket. She hurried back to the house, as she did not want to be late in preparing supper for the family.

It was not until about 6.30pm that the 16-year-old Awiti went out again to remind Emmanuel that he had overstayed outside. She didn’t find him, which was unusual.

Emmanuel’s torso was burnt by a chemical believed to be an acid and his jaw dismembered in one of the most macabre incidents to happen in the area. Emmanuel’s killers stuffed the body in a sack and on it pasted a copy of the appeal poster probably to let passersby identify it.

Emmanuel’s forehead skin had been removed and his tongue cut by the killers. "I don’t know why they had to do this to my son. I don’t owe anyone money or anything," said Adit, the boy’s distraught mother. She wept intermittently. Emmanuel was a Standard One pupil at the nearby Newlight Academy, that has featured in Kenya’s top ten in national examinations — until the ranking of primary schools was discontinued.

His teachers and classmates were shattered on learning on his death. His classmates stared in silence as photographers took pictures of their class of 30 — including his empty slot.

The class teacher Irene Nyawalo, described Emmanuel as obedient and quick learner. "He was above average and always obedient. It is a shock to us," she said.

Nyawalo said they learnt of his disappearance on Friday morning when he failed to show up and his mother went to the school to report his absence.

His body was found by a woman out for her morning jog, bringing to an end the five-day search for Emmanuel.

Went missing

His going missing had been highlighted on KTN news at the weekend with the family pleading to those who were holding him to release him. The parents have lived in Komarock for over a decade.

According to the boy’s uncle Peter Ajak, Emmanuel wandered out through the rear gate of his grandmother’s house and on to a path that leads to a nearby stream.

After the house girl failed to get Adar, she alerted them and they embarked on a mission to look for him.

Ajak says he printed several portraits of the boy and wrote appealing message on it for anyone who saw him to alert them through his cell phone.

"Someone called me at the weekend and told me he had the boy along Kangundo Road and demanded that I go there to pick him up. But when I got there the caller said he had left the boy with someone else and hang up," he said.

Heed demands

Ajak said another caller demanded Sh5,000 to enable him speak to Emmanuel and threatened to kill him if the family did not heed the demands.

Because the previous day’s call had been a hoax, he did not take the caller seriously and instead reported to the police and sought the media’s help in efforts to find Emmanuel.

To him and his family, the five days were torturous, disturbing and longest in their lives. "But why kill such an innocent boy in such a way? I don’t know what to say," he remarked.

Kayole OCPD Shadrack Maithya blamed Mungiki followers on the incident. "It is the Mungiki who usually murder in such a manner but we will get to the bottom of this," he said.

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