Family anxiously awaits word on senior officer after El Adde camp attack

Saturday January 23 2016

President Uhuru Kenyatta (second right) with  First Lady  Margaret, Deputy President William  Ruto (left) and  Cord leader Raila Odinga (third left) listen to KDF officer Zablon Aura at the Forces Memorial  Hospital, Nairobi when they visited soldiers injured in Somalia. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

President Uhuru Kenyatta (second right) with First Lady Margaret, Deputy President William Ruto (left) and Cord leader Raila Odinga (third left) listen to KDF officer Zablon Aura at the Forces Memorial Hospital, Nairobi when they visited soldiers injured in Somalia. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By AGGREY OMBOKI
More by this Author

At Misesi Shopping Centre in Bomachoge sub county in Kisii, the faces of the residents betray their greatest worry.

January 15 will forever remain etched in their memories.

It was the day information reached them that the Kenyan military camp in El-Adde, Somalia had been overrun by the Al-Shabaab and that many soldiers had been killed.

One of their own sons, Major Geoffrey Nyabicha Obwoge, was in the camp. They feared the worst. To date, they have not heard anything from him and the government.

Driving into Major Obwoge’s rural home, the Saturday Nation team is immediately surrounded by relatives curious to know whether there is any news regarding his whereabouts.

And his immediate family is equally in agony over his whereabouts.

Major Geoffrey Obwoge. His family has not been able trace him since the dawn attack in the Ali Ade KDF camp. The family is calling upon the government to be open and give information over their loved for them to stop living in dilemma:  PHOTO | BENSON MOMANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Major Geoffrey Obwoge. His family has not been able trace him since the dawn attack in the Ali Ade KDF camp. The family is calling upon the government to be open and give information over their loved for them to stop living in dilemma: PHOTO | BENSON MOMANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

His wife, Ms Rhoda Manyange, said on phone from Eldoret, that the last time she spoke to her husband was on January 14, a day before the attack happened.

“I spoke to him on Thursday night,” said Mrs Manyange, noting her husband was the camp’s commanding officer.

“He never gave any indication that him and his officers were in any danger or an attack was imminent,” she said.

SENT TEXT MESSAGE

The next day she sent him a text message early morning, which was not replied, until she received news of the attack at around 4pm.

“My world came crushing. I then received a call the same day at around 7.30pm by someone who spoke some language that sounded like Somali…I was unable to comprehend what he was saying, so I hung up,” she went on.

Since the attack occurred, her family has tried unsuccessfully to contact the officer.

“All calls to his phone are not going through,” she said.

“Our family is in great anxiety because we need to know his whereabouts. We are demanding answers.”

She said the Kenya Defence Forces was yet to furnish her with concrete details concerning the attack.
“They have told us to remain patient as they look for him,” she said.  

Mrs Manyange described her husband as a loving father to her daughters Joy, 4, and Melissa, who is just nine months.

“He would call us every day while on duty in Somalia and ask about the welfare of his daughters, parents, siblings and extended family members.”

She said that he was a committed member of the Seventh Day Adventist faith, as he would always accompany his family to church while off duty.

CHURCH WEDDING

“We did a church wedding in 2005. He is a patient, loving man who always cares about others,” she said. “We miss him terribly as a family.”
His brother, Mr Zebedeo Obwoge, said that the family was having sleepless nights due to the missing officer.

“We are very worried since his phone is not going through since the attack.”

Mr Zebedeo said that he had travelled to Nairobi on Tuesday to get details of the officer’s whereabouts.

“Immediately we heard the news about the attack, we rushed to Nairobi to get information on our brother. So far we’ve not received any concrete details on his exact location from the KDF,” he said.

“We are worried about his fate because he was not only an army officer, but also a brother and a loving family member,” he added.

Mr Kepha Onyinkwa, also a brother to the officer, said that the family only received the news of the attack from the media.

He appealed to the government to do its best to ensure the major was rescued.

“As a state officer, we expect the government to act quickly to ensure he is found alive and returned home. Our hopes are now pinned on the KDF and God to help us see our brother again,” he said.