Families question police silence on missing men - Daily Nation

Families question police silence on missing men arrested over attacks

Wednesday January 2 2013

By ANTHONY KITIMO [email protected]

Mr Bandru Mramba was busy in his shop one November morning when strangers approached him and introduced themselves as police officers.

They wanted to question him on terrorism-related issues.

Mr Mramba was arrested on the morning of November 14 and he has never been seen since then and police say they do not know of his whereabouts.

He was a close ally of Muslim preacher Aboud Rogo who was shot dead under unexplained circumstances, sparking riots in Mombasa.

Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko set up a taskforce to investigate the killing, but the inquiry has not yet been concluded.

Mr Mramba’s family members yesterday asked the police to arraign him in court if he is suspected to have been involved in terrorism instead of keeping them in the dark.

Mr Khalid Kiriwa, a son of Mr Mramba, said for almost two months they have not had any information about their father.

“We wished to see him before the end of last year but in vain. We hope as the year starts the police will bring him either to court or release him,” said Mr Kiriwa.

Worried wife

The family has unsuccessfully followed up the matter with the Muslim for Human Rights (Muhuri) and other organisations.

Ms Rehema Lugogo, Mr Mramba’s wife, said her missing husband was arrested with seven other people who have since been prosecuted.

“My husband was arrested in his shop where he sells snacks opposite the Masjid Musa Mosque, a few hours after attending the wedding of a daughter of Sheikh Rogo in Kikambala,” she told the Nation.

She said the strangers who arrested him identified themselves as police before handcuffing and bundling him in their vehicle.

“I have reported the case to Makupa and Nyali police stations in the hope that I would know the whereabouts of my husband, but in vain. I became more anxious after seven of his colleagues were presented in court a week after their arrest but my husband was not among them,” she said.

Bilal Gaitho, Swaleh Abdulmajid, Swaleh Ali, Khubeid Aboud Rogo, Juma Musa, Mzee Suleiman and Hashim Yasir were charged in a Mombasa court with planning terror attacks on Makupa and Central police stations. They denied the charge.

Ms Lugogo accused the police of misusing new terrorism laws to harass innocent people.

When Mr Mramba was arrested, Coast Criminal Investigation officer Ambrose Munyasia confirmed a police operation which extended to Mr Rogo’s home in Kikambala and arrested Rogo’s son, and his daughter and her husband during a wedding party but did not divulge further information.

Mr Mramba is among several people linked to terrorism who have disappeared in the recent past under unexplained circumstances.

Muhuri executive director Hussein Khalid says he has petitioned the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances to follow up on Mr Mramba’s case and other mi