Nakuru family demands answers on disappearance of KWS officer

Veronica Osore during an interview at home in Nakuru on September 23, 2021. Her husband Francis Oyaro, a KWS officer based in Marsabit National Park went missing on August 28, 2021.[Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

A family in Nakuru is in distress after their kin, a Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) warden, went missing under unclear circumstances. Francis Oyaro, 45, has been missing for close to a month now.

His wife, Veronicah Osore, said the last time she spoke to Oyaro was on August 28 as he was heading home from his work station at Marsabit National Park.

She said efforts to trace her husband through his colleagues and the police have hit a dead end. The family now fears that something bad may have happened to him.

“He left in the morning and at around 1pm, he called to inform me he was approaching Nanyuki. I expected him home around 6pm. However, he did not show up,” said the 35-year-old Osore. The couple has two children.

The photo of Francis Oyaro [Courtesy]

By 8pm, Osore said, her husband who was attached to the KWS intelligence unit had not arrived home and did not call her. She dialed his number but the call did not go through.

Two days later when Oyaro had not shown up and his phone was still off, Osore said she called her husband’s workstation. 

“His immediate boss, who identified himself as Mr Kitavi Kaloki, was surprised. He said he did not understand why he had not arrived home days later. He said my husband had asked to be away for a few days, a request he had been granted. Kaloki said my husband was expected to return to work on September 6,” said Osore.

She said Kaloki informed her that Oyaro had hiked a lift on a KWS vehicle. Other than the driver, the vehicle is said to have had two of his female colleagues. 

“The other occupants of the vehicle are said to have arrived in Nairobi safely. They claim Oyaro alighted from the vehicle in Nanyuki but we are not sure about that. And while they knew my husband never got home, none of them tried to reach us,” said a distressed Osore. 

Nakuru East Sub-county police commander Elena Kabukuru said the matter is under investigation and they would update the family on the progress.

The family has been to Marsabit and Nairobi in search of him without success. Earlier this week, the family printed and circulated posters bearing Oyaro’s picture. 

A person who claimed to know Oyaro at a personal level but sought to conceal his identity is said to have called Oyaro’s elder sister, Winnie Oyaro, claiming he had seen him in Nanyuki on the day he went missing.

“We boarded the same matatu from Nanyuki heading to Nakuru. Near Naro Moru, we were flagged down by two people. They had a black saloon car. The people, in civilian clothes and who identified themselves as security officers, went ahead to show the matatu driver their identification cards,” said the caller. 

The caller said the unknown people opened the door and told Oyaro to alight.

“He tried making a call but they snatched his phone. He asked them to explain why they were trailing him yet they had met the previous day. They took his bag and led him into their car. They ordered the driver of the matatu to proceed with the journey,” the caller reportedly told Winnie.

According to the caller, Oyaro seemed to know the two well, a revelation that has left the family in fear that his suspected abductors may have harmed him. 

“My brother was in the intelligence department and it is a sensitive one. We feel either the police or KWS know something that we don’t know,” said Winnie. 

Marsabit National Park senior warden John Wambua, who spoke to The Standard on phone, said they have reported the matter to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).

“The matter is being investigated by DCI in Marsabit. For now, no progress has been made. Meanwhile, we are not aware of anything that could have led to his disappearance,” said Wambua.