Shock, agony for families of missing students

Salwa Abdalla (20)  at the their South C home 18-05-2015 Nairobi. The girl is alledged to have travelled to Syria to possibly join the ISIS. The mother says she received a mobile telephone text message from one of the girls's relative living in Namanga from the two asking the relatives not worry that they are safe in Syria. The parents wants the government to help them bring the girls home. PHOTO:Elvis Ogina/STANDARD]

Families of two young women suspected to have travelled to Syria to join the murderous Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) voiced their agony yesterday, as it was revealed that yet another student had gone missing.

A friend of Salwa Abdalla, one of the girls said to have joined ISIS, is also said to have disappeared a month ago.

Abdihakim Abdisemed, a second year law student at Kenyatta University, reportedly went missing in April, according to Kenyatta University Students Association (Kusa) officials.

Salwa, a second year Bachelor of Education student at Kenyatta University, disappeared last Wednesday with her friend Twafiqa Dahir, who was waiting to join the University of Nairobi.

The two girls did not have national identification cards (IDs). Abdisemed had also confided to his friends that he did not have a passport.

"I have all the documents of my daughter including the waiting card and birth certificate. She did not have an ID or a passport," Rahma Adan, Twafiqa's mother said as she cried for help to bring her back home.

Khadija Abdalla, the mother of Salwa, also said her daughter did not have an ID or passport.

Whereas Salwa is yet to communicate with her family or friends, on Sunday evening, Twafiqa sent a message to her cousin, claiming she was in a place called Shaam on the border of Iraq and Syria.

Twafiqa promised to contact her parents on Tuesday (yesterday) evening after settling down in Syria. She told her cousin that she was hoping to get a house and a new phone by Monday.

"I have not heard from my daughter since she disappeared. And neither has she sent any message to inform us where she is," her tearful mother told The Standard.

Yesterday, ATPU's boss Munga Nyale commended the families for informing the police about the disappearances.

"These are the first families to approach us about the disappearances of their children," he said.

Salwa's friends said that she was "traumatised" after the disappearance of Abdihakim. Abdihakim's cousin who requested not to be named for security reasons said they reported his disappearance at Kenyatta University Law Campus.

"We tried unsuccessfully to trace him. After he went missing, we communicated once about two weeks later. He was reluctant to tell me where he was. But he said he was okay and that he was with other people whom he was trying to run away from," said his friend.

last communication

He said they also gave the number he was using to the police but they could not trace where he was.

Students said Abdihakim fondly spoke about Somalia. "My guess is that the boy is either in Somalia or might have gone to Syria," the friend said. Abdihakim's family said when they last communicated, he promised to come back home on May 1.

"He never came. When we tried to call the number, the calls were diverted," his cousin said. His friends said that Abdihakim sounded "afraid" of the people he was with.

"He didn't tell us who they were. At one point he told me that if they knew that he had a mobile phone or that he was planning to run they could hurt him."

Abdihakim studied at Malai Primary School and then Starehe Boys before joining Kenyatta University.

Students at Kenyatta University said he was a humble and religious person who loved politics.

Students described Salwa as a lovely student with many friends of both sexes who never showed signs of religious extremism. "In my opinion and that of most of our classmates, it doesn't seem true. She is a girl who was passionate about raising her own family in Kenya in the future," Ken Mutua, the Kusa Education Congressman, said.

Mutua said Salwa was one of his strong supporters and that she loved politics.

"On the day of the election, she kept inquiring from me through the night if I had won as the vote counting went on. After I won, she sent me a message a week later saying that the day I become a governor or MCA, she will proudly tell her children that I was her friend."