NAIROBI: Five Kenyans kidnapped by suspected Al-Shabaab militants in Lamu last year are languishing in a Somalia jail while the Government claims it is not aware of the arrests.
The five were allegedly kidnapped by hooded gunmen on October 11 last year in Boni Forest as they headed to Kiunga, and driven into Somalia where they were held captive for two weeks before being set free.
They were, however, later arrested allegedly under the instructions of Kenya Defence Forces in Somalia.
The five are Anwar Abdi, Ali Omar, Abdirahman Mohamed, Deeq Mohamed and Shukri Noor.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery and Police Inspector General Joseph Boinett last week said they were not aware of the arrests.
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The five, who spoke to The Standard on phone from their incarceration in Kismayu, said they were in poor health with nothing to eat and urged the Government to secure their release.
They alleged that they had been surviving on a meal a day and were going for more than two weeks or even a month without a bath.
Anwar Abdi is said to be in a different cell but often communicates with the four and this has left his wife Fatuma Hassan worried.
Fatuma said she had not communicated with him since his abduction, but only learnt from the owner of the pick-up Abdi was driving that he had been arrested and held in Kismayu.
Speaking from Kismayu, Abdirahman said: “We are suffering so much. We don’t know what is going on. Police officers here tell us they are waiting communication from Nairobi before they release us.”
Abdulrahman, who spoke on behalf of the others on a borrowed phone from one of the police officers said when they were released by the militants, they asked for a police station and they were directed to an Amisom camp near Kismayu town which was under KDF.
When they are arrived at the camp, the officers allegedly questioned them and advised them to get a place to sleep and catch a lift back to Kenya the following day.
They were, however, reportedly seized by Jubaland security forces the following morning as they prepared to leave the hotel where they had spent the night.
“We were shocked when the hotel staff told us that we were under arrest the following morning. We were told KDF had ordered our arrest,” he said.
He continued, “We have never known why we were held. It is sad that we are here because of orders from Kenyan soldiers who should have helped us.”
Nkaissery said on phone: “I am hearing this for the first time. Nobody has shared with me such kind of information and if it is true there are Kenyans suffering in police cells, it is sad.”
The CS said he would consult with the Criminal Investigations boss Ndegwa Muhoro and Boinett before issuing an official statement on the same.
Boinett similarly said he was not aware of the arrest and promised to get back after doing a back ground check. “I am not aware of any Kenyans held by Somalia police. I will have to check and get back when I have full information,” he said.
Nkaissery was appointed CS in December 2014 while Boinett took over as IG of police in April this year.
At that time, police said they were yet to know where the five people were.
Efforts by clan elders to bring back the five have not been successful as Jubaland President Ahmed Mohamed told them he could not be of any assistance because the five were held under Kenya’s instructions.
The Department of Defence (DoD) could not say if they were aware of the arrests.