Probe finds cell phone images of 'victims'

In one of images that investigators have landed their hands on, at least three men who appear subdued are alive inside a car.

Police are now trying to draw linkages between the images of the men while alive and what appear to be their bodies in a bush.

These images are the latest evidence gathered by Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) detectives who are investigating several disappearances.

Yesterday, highly placed sources familiar with the probe told The Sunday Standard that the images of the bodies were recovered from the mobile phone of one of the officers currently in detention.

According to one source, the photos were also shared on WhatsApp between some of the officers who took part in the operation.

These gory images were later forwarded to some senior police commanders who are part of a high-ranking and well-knit network of police chiefs.

Investigations have now established that the mobile phone used to record both videos and still photos belongs to an officer also in custody and that it is this same phone that sent the initial photo of the stark naked bodies.

According to the investigators, the new evidence had implicated some junior officers and others who are yet to be arrested.

The investigators are now wrapping their investigation around the possibility that the photographic images and calls made by these juniors to some senior police officers are related.

"We must establish how the images of these (missing) men and the images of the bodies in a forest came to be in these officers' phones," said an investigator.

The investigators now believe the abductions were possibly sanctioned by some senior officials within the security circles.

It remains unclear if Acting Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) chief Mohammed Amin will be following the images to the high-level security chiefs who have been found to have received them.

As investigations continue, heads are expected to roll as the nine policemen so far arrested in connection with the disappearance of two Indian nationals and a local driver open up on the matter that has attracted the attention of President William Ruto.

Mohammed Zaid Sami Kidwai, Zulfiqra Ahmed Khan and Kenyan Nichodemus Mwania Mwange went missing on the night of July 23.

They were last seen alive when they left a night club in Westlands and were reportedly heading home. A report of missing persons was filed at Langata Police Station a day later.

Four DCI officers from the disbanded Special Service Unit in court over the disappearance of two Indians. [Wilberforce Okwiri,Standard]

In a case of probing whether the law keepers turned into law breakers, investigators are going beyond the nine officers as they seek to piece together details of the disappearance of the three.

"We are looking at several people concerning the evidence we have. For us, it is to understand how it was planned, get the people who were at the scene, and prepare a strong case," an IAU officer told The Sunday Standard.

Among those being investigated are senior officers at the DCI, other security agencies, and people outside these agencies.

Sources say some of the officers in custody have told the investigators that all the activities of the now disbanded Special Service Unit (SSU) were conducted on instructions from their seniors.

IAU officers who spoke to The Sunday Standard said DNA tests taken from the first four officers to be arrested and a probe of their mobile phones would reveal more suspects who were involved in the incident.

The whereabouts of the three men remains unknown but their families linked their disappearance to State agents after CCTV footage showed their car being blocked and the three being taken away by armed men on the night they went missing.

The State, in an affidavit before court, pleaded for 30 more days to hold the suspects in custody and gather more evidence.

"There is a need to conduct further investigations and gather more confirmatory evidence to link further the involvement or otherwise of the respondents on the disappearance of the victims herein," reads the affidavit.

The suspects were arraigned in the Ruaraka law courts.

The IAU investigators say in the affidavit that they believe the events leading to the disappearance of the three men point to a work that involved multiple agencies.

"The applicants have relevant facts that the respondents and others are connected to the offence," says the affidavit.

"The interception of the two Indians and their Kenyan driver was a multi-agency operation between the DCI and other security agencies."

Five more police officers, who belonged to the SSU, were arrested on Wednesday in addition to four nabbed earlier in connection with the disappearance of the three men.

They were arrested at the IAU headquarters in Upperhill, Nairobi, and detained at the Industrial Area Police Station, awaiting arraignment as the State expands its investigations.

"They are being investigated for the offences of conspiracy to commit a felony and abduction. They will be arraigned on Thursday, October 27," a police report filed at the IAU headquarters said.

Kenya's security agencies include the National Police Service (NPS), the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the National Intelligence Service (NIS).

IAU investigators say preliminary investigations, including vehicles' GPS/track logs and call data records, placed the suspects on the scene of the crime.

Sources said all the 21 officers from the disbanded SSU admitted, during the grilling, that they were assigned the roles they played ahead of the last General Election.

Members of the disbanded unit told IAU in written statements that they were taking orders from above, a statement that implicates their seniors.