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Missing Lamu nurse resurfaces, claims police abducted him

Sunday January 12 2020

Omar Faraj resurfaces

Omar Faraj (2nd left) in Eldoret town on January 11,2020, a day after he resurfaced. The nursing student at MTRH who hails from Lamu had been missed for three weeks. He said he had been abducted by security agents. PHOTO | KALUME KAZUNGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

KALUME KAZUNGU
By KALUME KAZUNGU
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A nurse from Lamu who mysteriously went missing more than three weeks ago has finally resurfaced.

Omar Faraj, 41, a senior nurse at the King Fahad County Referral Hospital in Lamu town was reported missing on December 19, 2019 while in Eldoret.

Mr Faraj had enrolled for a higher diploma in pre-operative nursing at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in September 2019.

He was reported missing shortly after leaving the institution for a burial within Eldoret town.

He has now resurfaced, saying that he had been abducted.

In an exclusive interview with the Nation on Sunday, Mr Omar confirmed that he is alive and well.

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BURIAL

Mr Faraj revealed that on that fateful day of December 19, 2019, he had asked for permission to attend the burial of former Lamu-Mkomani Ward councillor Omar Makenzie which was taking place within Eldoret town.

“It was around 8.30am. In fact, I was in uniform – the institution’s gown. On reaching the gate, I met a group of men in civilian clothes. There was also a car parked just near them. After a few interrogations, the men pounced at me and bundled me into their car. They blindfolded and whisked me away to an unknown destination. I remember spending almost five to six hours in blindfolds before they unfolded me immediately after reaching the place they took me to. It was just a small room,” said Mr Faraj.

ABDUCTORS

According to him, he first suspected that his abductors were human traffickers only to discover later that they were security agencies.

They told him that they had taken him to Nairobi to enable them extract ‘crucial’ information from him.

“After they uncovered me, they introduced themselves as security agencies who wanted information from me. They also informed me that we were in Nairobi. They took my mobile phones, my bag and other documents that were inside. All that time, they didn’t want me to communicate with my family or friends,” said Mr Faraj.

He explained that his abductors were good people since all that time they spent with him, he was not in any way subjected to any form of mistreatment.

QUESTIONED

“They questioned me day and night. They held me from December 19, 2019 until Friday January 10, 2020. For almost the 23 days they were with me, they didn’t subject me to any form of torture. In fact, they used to provide me with good breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“I was happy when they finally told me that they had found no reason to continue holding me. They released me on Friday. In fact, before the day they arrested me, I had booked Tahmeed Bus to Mombasa from Eldoret. I had also booked a Tawakal bus to connect from Mombasa to Lamu. By the time they released me on Friday, all the tickets had expired but they refunded all my money. I am currently in Eldoret but I am planning to travel and see my family in Lamu by Monday,” Mr Faraj, a husband to four wives and father of ten children said joyfully.

The Nation established that the news about his reappearance has brought a lot of joy and happiness to his family which has been agonising over his disappearance.

FAMILY ELATED

When the Nation visited the family home in Mkomani, Khadija Faraj, Mr Faraj’s sister, expressed gratitude that finally her brother is alive and well.

Khadija said they are eagerly wait to see their kin so that the family can celebrate.

She said the good news has already brought healing to the family, particularly their mother, Mwanahadiye Abdallah, who has been sick since the day she was informed that her eldest son had mysteriously gone missing.

“Alhamdulillah. Sincerely speaking, the year 2020 has begun so well. We're more than happy that finally our brother’s whereabouts is known. Our mother who has been suffering from hypertension and diabetes started getting well the very day she learnt that Omar was alive. We’re looking forward to meeting him this week so that we can celebrate together and welcome him home once again. We were really worried about him,” said Khadija.

Meanwhile, the Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri) has condemned the disappearance of Mr Faraj for more than three weeks, terming it as pure violation of the Constitution by police officers.

Muhuri Rapid Response Officer Francis Auma insists that there is strong evidence that Kenya's Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) has carried out a series of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances going by Mr Faraj’s case.

LITIGATION

He said the organisation has already instructed their legal department to investigate the matter and advice on possible litigation.

“Omar’s mysterious disappearance was reported to Muhuri office by his family from Lamu and Muhuri Rapid response unit has been searching for him in vain. The family has gone through a very tough time. There are many of such cases of forced disappearances at the Coast and Kenya at large. Muhuri is therefore calling on the government to open a public inquest into forced disappearances in Kenya and the Coast region,” said Mr Auma.

Contacted, Lamu County Commissioner Irungu Macharia said he was not aware of Mr Faraj's resurfacing but was quick to say that it was good if he has been found alive and sound.

"That's good if he has reappeared. As for us, we don't even follow up a lot on issues of mysterious disappearances since we're not involved in any. But it's good for him if he has resurfaced," said Mr Macharia.