For close to seven hours, Rebecca, 23, a Sudanese living in Nakuru, was held hostage by a criminal gang that has been terrorising the town and its environs for more five years now, despite being outlawed in 2016. She narrates her ordeal.
On Monday, June 6, I left my house in Park View estate to deposit some Sh25,000 for my brother at a local bank in Nakuru town.
It was around 2 pm.
I flagged down a boda boda outside my home. Little did I know that I was being taken to my tormentors.
The boda boda operator started behaving strangely. First, he claimed his motorcycle did not have enough fuel and that he wanted to fuel at a fuel station in the neighbouring estate.
Then he started heading full speed towards Bondeni slums.
He was speeding so much that I started bleeding because I was yet to recover fully from birth complications after delivering my baby a week earlier.
My pleas to the rider that the speeding was causing me discomfort fell on deaf ears. He told me to shut up, and that if I said anything else he would kill me.
I thought about my week-old baby and his four-year-old brother back at home and kept quiet as the boda boda weaved around the rough roads at break-neck speed.
The boda boda stopped outside one of the shanties at Bondeni slums. Three men were waiting. They were armed with machetes, clubs and all manner of weapons.
Before I could alight, one of them pulled me down and I landed on the dusty ground-injuring my head. I started bleeding again.
I tried to struggle, but they pinned me down and threatened to kill me.
One of them snatched my handbag, opened it took the Sh25,000 inside. They sarcastically said I was ‘rich.’
They were so sure of themselves that they kept on sipping alcohol and smoking bhang as they divided the money among themselves.
Then they started demanding more.
One of them gave me a mobile phone and told me to call my husband. He gave me instructions on what to say, including a Sh50,000 ransom for my freedom.
They threatened to kill me if my husband failed to send the money to the phone.
One of them started asking me why and how I came to Kenya and what I have been doing for a living, and details of my family.
At around 4pm, I started pleading with them to allow me go back home to breastfeed my baby, but one of them retorted that I had “a very uncooperative husband.”
At around 7.30pm, they asked me to chose how I wanted to die because my husband had not sent the money. All I could say was “I do not know, only God knows.”
One of the gang members was kind. He argued that the Sh25,000, was enough and pleaded with his accomplices to allow me go back home to breastfeed my baby.
They then ordered me to leave, warning of dire consequences if I ever reported the incident to the police.
I walked home, stopping to take breaths along the way because I did not have much strength left.
I later learnt that about the time the gang released me, my husband was working with the police to trace me through the mobile phone they made me use to make the ransom demand.
By the time police, led by Nakuru Town East DCI Benson Mutie, got to the scene, the gang had vanished.