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Study: After arrest, youths in northern Kenya either disappeared or were found dead

COUNTIES
By Cyrus Ombati | July 21st 2016

Human Rights Watch has captured gripping details of how youths were captured, never to be seen again.

On April 22, 2015, masked Kenya Defence Forces officers arrested Noor Abdi Diis from his retail shop in Omar Jillo, about 40km from Mandera town along the Mandera-Nairobi road.

Mr Diis was arrested along with five others, also from Omar Jillo, witnesses said, but the identities of the five were not known. Community members in Fino discovered Diis’s body on April 27, 2015, almost 50km away from where he was arrested. The whereabouts of the other five remained a mystery, witnesses said.

And at around 1pm on December 3, 2015, four masked men in plainclothes arrested Isnina Musa Sheikh as she served customers at her food kiosk in Mandera town.

The men failed to identify themselves but were armed with pistols and M16 assault rifles, commonly used by KDF soldiers. Witnesses said the four men who arrested Ms Isnina ordered everyone in the kiosk to lie down, pointing their guns at some customers’ heads and threatening to shoot them.

Isnina, a mother of five, was then driven away in a white Toyota Probox that was escorted by two Land Cruisers that had the KDF insignia on the doors. On December 4, 2015, family members reported the arrest at Mandera Police Station. Herders discovered her body in a shallow grave in Arabia, 50km from Mandera town, on December 6.

On August 13, 2015, Abdi Bare Mohamed was walking to the Mandera County headquarters to seek employment when he encountered a CID officer he had met before.

Report missing

A relative who witnessed the encounter told Human Rights Watch that the CID officer accused Mr Abdi of having links with al Shaabab and demanded Sh50,000 in protection fees or face death.

The officer, according to the relative, hit Abdi and boasted that it was just a matter of time before he disappeared. Witnesses say Abdi was last seen leaving his mother’s house for the market in Mandera on August 18, 2015.

Relatives reported his disappearance at Mandera Police Station on August 19, 2015, but this report was missing from police records when they made a follow up a few days later. His body was found at the Mandera Hospital mortuary on September 5, 2015. In late April, 2013, 50 uniformed police officers arrested Abdimalik Mohamed alias Ibrahim and his 18-year-old brother at his house in Taqwa, Garissa. Abdimalik’s body was later found near Thika town. His 18-year-old brother has never been found. The family has since moved out of Garissa in fear.

Abdiwelli Ibrahim Sheikh, Feisal Mohamed Ibrahim and two other men from the same neighbourhood in Mandera town were arrested from their houses on March 18, 2015, and taken to the Mandera military camp. They have not been seen since.

On the evening of April 20, 2015, more than 20 non-uniformed men raided a residential compound in Taqwa, Garissa town, and arrested Mahat Ahmed, Ismail Mohamed, Rahma Ali and Anab Abdullahi, none of whom have been seen since.  

Hassan Abdullahi Adan, Yusuf Abdi Iman and three others also disappeared without a trace after they were arrested on March 26, 2015, at Durdur Restaurant in Garissa Ndogo.

Mohamed Farah Muhumed, Siad Mahat Ahmed and Sugu Apkea were arrested in February 2014 when more than 10 armed Kenya Wildlife Service rangers raided their homes in Garissa’s Bula Tawakal. They have not been seen since.

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