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Nakuru families yet to see their kin seven months later

Beatrice Wanjiru with Rona Moraa displaying the photos of their husbands Vincent Motari and Alfred Omboto during an interview at Ngata within the outskirts of Nakuru city on March 22, 2022. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

A rusty padlock on the door of a house built for Vincent Motari, 25, has not been unlocked for months.

The padlock looks like it would tell a story of the many months the owner of the house has been away. For seven years, Motari lived in the house built by his parents.

However, he has not opened the house in Solai, Rongai Sub-county, Nakuru County, since March 13, when he went missing.

Motari was allegedly ‘abducted’ together with his brother Alfred Omboto, 38, at his other rented house in Kiondo.

Benson Ayuka, their elder brother, says four men posing as police officers descended on Motari’s house where Omboto had visited him and apprehended them.

“One of the men accused my brothers of smoking bhang and forcefully entered his house and took them. He also locked Motari’s wife inside the house,” says Ayuka.

He says Motari’s neighbours believe the abductors were police officers because they had handcuffs and were not afraid to make arrests during the day.

The matter was reported at Pemways Police Post under OB 04/13/03/2022.

Esther Kerubo, 75, the mother of the two, has been having sleepless nights since her sons disappeared.

Speaking to The Sunday Standard on Friday, Ms Kerubo said she had been in and out of the hospital due to high blood pressure. She added that she can no longer eat well.

“Whenever I think about my sons, I start crying and in a blink of an eye, I find myself fighting for my life in hospital,” she said.

Even though Kerubo is begging those who abducted her sons to return them, her hopes are diminishing as days pass by.

“It has been seven months but their memories will stay with me until I see them again; either dead or alive. As we speak I am in the dark and I do not know what to expect,” she said.

Over the past months, Kerubo has visited prisons, mortuaries, lakes and rivers to look for her sons, without any trace.

She said her sons were good men and not criminals and they were making a living uprightly.

Their father, Maxwell Omboto, blamed police for the abduction. He said if his sons were criminals they should have been charged in court.

“The police have the resources to trace anyone who goes missing the same way they trace criminals. Why has it been difficult for them to locate my sons?" wondered Omboto.

He wants the police to declare their sons dead or alive and give reasons why they went missing.

“Every time I hear something outside my house, I rush to see whether it is my sons. I now look like a man without direction or a future because they were my future,” said Omboto in tears.

Motari has left a 10-year-old child while Omboto is a father of three aged 10, eight and five. Both were labourers and boda boda operators in Kiondoo.

Rona Moraa, Omboto’s widow, now stays in one of Ayuka’s houses.

The family has now moved to the High Court in Nakuru to seek justice.

Three kilometres away is the family of Jeremiah Mwangi, 36, who also went missing in March.

Mwangi was taken when he took his motorbike to be washed at Maili Kumi on March 13 at 2pm.

His wife Ann Wanjiku says the men in civilian clothes tied him up, put him in a white Toyota Probox car and drove around the centre.

“At around 7pm, they brought him home and found me. They began rummaging through our chicken coop, looking for something I did not know,” she says.

When they did not get what they were looking for, Wanjiku says she heard her husband scream inside the car but when she went to find out what was wrong, the men chased her with a rungu.

“They left with my husband. I have never seen him since then. I reported the matter at Bahati Police Station and it was booked under OB 29/13/03/2022," she says.

Wanjiku says her husband used to fetch water for the people of Banita and Maili Sita and the village is shocked at what befell him.

“It feels like yesterday but as the day goes by I am losing hope of seeing my husband again. I have a child who is now three months old and two others aged eight and five. I live everything to God,” she says.

Nakuru County Human Rights Network Executive Director David Kuria says the cases of mysterious disappearances have been reported to his office.

“Some of the cases date back six years and we suspect that there are more cases that have not been reported,” he says.

Nakuru County Police Commander Peter Mwanzo said they were investigating the cases.

“We are following up on the cases and will not stop until we know the root cause of the disappearances,” said Mwanzo.

When the cases were first reported, Nakuru County Criminal Investigation Officer Anthony Sunguti said the police had denied claims that they took the three men.