Horror, abduction and killing of Indian poll experts

 Four DCI officers from the disbanded Special Service Unit in court over the disappearance of two Indians were arraigned at the magistrates' court in Kahawa on October 24, 2022.  [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

The hearing of the case on the abduction and subsequent disappearance of two Indians hired by President William Ruto’s campaign and their driver kicked off last week, with the prosecution revealing it will be relying on 30 witnesses to prove the suspects’ guilty.

However, a perusal of the documents filed in court indicates that vehicle tracking logs will form the linchpin of the prosecution’s case. 

The murders of Mohammed Zaid Sami, Zulfiqar Ahmed Khan, and Nicodemus Mwania Mwangi, who went missing in July 2022, were allegedly executed by the now-disbanded elite Special Service Unit (SSU). 

Mr. Khan, the former Chief Operating Officer of Balaji Telefilms, and his friend Sami arrived in Kenya in April 2022 on a tourist visa to join the ICT campaign team of the then Deputy President William Ruto. He came in anticipation of the August 2022 general election. Mwangi was their taxi driver. 

“The case on the abduction and subsequent disappearance of two Indian nationals and one Kenyan involving 15 officers from the former Special Services Unit (SSU) of the DCI took off for hearing before Kahawa Law Courts Principal Magistrate Hon. Gideon Kiage,” the ODPP said after the case started last week.

Those in court are a Kenya Wildlife Service officer, a National Intelligence Service officer, and 13 members of the SSU.

According to court documents, a witness testified in court that government vehicles belonging to SSU were utilised to surveil, apprehend, and dispose of the bodies of a Kenyan taxi driver and the two Indian nationals in Aberdares National Park, Nyeri County, in July 2022.

“On October 19, 2022, as a team of investigators, they proceeded to Aberdare National Park in Nyeri, where they conducted a search and collected exhibits, which were forwarded to the government chemist at Kenyatta National Hospital,” the prosecution submitted.

It was revealed that a single vehicle, bearing registration number GKB 038U, was logged in the car tracking system entering the Tree Tops gate of the park at 6:34 pm. on July 22, 2022. This entry occurred outside the designated park visiting hours, which typically span from 6 am to 6 pm. Additionally, investigations revealed that the vehicle in question was not documented in the gate vehicle register book, based on the records extracted from the gate registers of the Kenya Wildlife Service.

“The Kenya Wildlife Service officers facilitated the disposal of the victims at the Aberdare National Park in Nyeri County,” court documents explained. 

The search involved over 100 police officers dispatched to Aberdare Forest in search of the three individuals. After two days of scouring the forest, they emerged on October 19 with numerous bones believed to be human, as well as belts and clothing.

The findings were secured for safekeeping in anticipation of DNA testing to determine their origins. 

The prosecution gave the court a chronology of how the murders were allegedly committed, from how they were trailed by officers from the defunct SSU to the continuous location of their mobile phones by the National Intelligence Service officers.

Also in court is the CCTV footage obtained by the National Police Service Internal Affairs Unit investigators, which placed at least 28 DCI officers at the centre of the alleged abduction and forceful disappearance of the three men.  

The 15 suspects in court are facing charges of abduction with intent to murder, conspiracy to commit a felony, subjecting a person to cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment, and committing cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.