By MICHAEL MUGWANG’A
In the last few weeks, the country has experienced an unprecedented wave of kidnappings.
From ordinary citizens to children and, shockingly, members of the Provincial Administration that would normally be expected to provide security, all have fallen victims.
Police have even formed a special unit to respond to this new trend of crime. But a solution is yet to be found and every one seems to be living in constant fear of a looming attack.
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As security agencies grapple with this security nightmare, analysts agree on one thing: That those behind the crime find it an easy way to make financial fortunes compared to other forms of crime.
Administration Police spokesman Masoud Mwinyi says kidnapping has become attractive to criminals because targets are unlikely to show resistance unlike in other crimes and due to the mental torture, relatives are likely to heed the ransom demands.
“It is taken as an easier option for those who want live a life of luxury and cannot afford it. It is preferred because the victim is in most cases known to the criminal and the level of productivity is already established,” says Mr Mwinyi, a position supported by Mr Richard Tuta, a security scholar and former policeman.
Tuta says the benefits of kidnapping are “very luxurious and almost guaranteed as the value of the subject is already established”.
Tuta and Mwinyi agree that kidnappers first profile the potential victim to ascertain the ransom value and likely cooperation by those close to them before they attack.
In an interview with Crime Watch, the AP spokesman said a study of previous incidents indicate that victims are normally people known to the kidnappers or their agents who take time to master their movements.
Tuta on his part advises everyone to always take precaution when giving details of their affairs, even to friends and relatives. Tuta, however, insists that in cases where kidnappers are caught, deterrent action should be taken against them and the same given adequate exposure to send a message to those with similar intents.
Mwinyi on the other hand advises people to make their whereabouts known to their close family so that in case of an attack, mitigation action can be taken as soon as possible.
He also advocates for people not to adopt a predictable schedule, as attackers are likely to pounce when they know one’s schedule.
“As police escalate the fight against this dangerous trend, we urge everyone to be vigilant about their own security and that of the ones they love,” the police boss told Crime Watch.
Dr Fredrick Owiti, a psychiatrist based in Nairobi, says kidnapping has long and short term effects that might be irreversible on the victims and there close families.