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For families of missing persons, life is one long and painful wait

Friday July 03 2020
MISSING

By STELLA CHERONO

It has been more than three months since three friends – Michael Njau, a human rights activist, his cousin Adan Saibu Njau and their friend Samuel Mungai – vanished. Michael and Saibu had left Nairobi for Thika to meet Samuel, a taxi operator. On arrival, the trio is believed to have spent time together before Samuel offered to drop them back in Nairobi.

Along the way, investigators say, two other people boarded the vehicle and they all proceeded towards Nairobi. That was on April 24. It is not clear at what point the three disappeared, but police reports indicate that their phones were switched off between Githurai and Kasarani.

The three are part of the more than 2,350 people who have been reported missing since December last year, with some having gone missing years ago, leaving their families in agony as police approach the investigations with lethargy.

VIGILANCE HOUSE

In the case of the trio’s disappearance, Thika Police Station said in a report to Vigilance House that “call records of the missing persons reveal that Samuel Mungai’s cell phone was activated to voice mail at around 1622 hours on the same day they went missing, while Adnan Mohammed’s cell phone voice mail was also activated at around 1631 hours.”

No progress has been reported since and the officers who were investigating the disappearance were later transferred. The mystery was deepened by the fact that the Toyota Ractis registration KCX 843M that the three are believed to have been using was found abandoned at the Githurai roundabout stage two days later after the owner traced it using a car tracker.

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“Residents of Githurai alleged that an unidentified person parked the car on Friday (the same day the three reportedly disappeared) at around 6pm and never returned,” human rights officials claim.

MICHAEL NJAU, 34

Michael’s brother, Harrison Nyambura, who is also Adan’s cousin, said he was hopeful they would be found and be reunited with their families, but expressed frustration that the investigating officers at Thika Police Station had been affected by the mass transfers effected in May.

“We visited Inspector General Hillary Mutyambai three weeks ago but all he said was that investigations were still on,” Michael’s brother Harrison Nyambura said, adding that the families have visited countless hospitals, mortuaries and even searched in parks to no avail.

“There is nothing we have not done. We have even conducted DNA tests on unidentified decomposing bodies but none has returned positive results. It is depressing,” he said. Michael is a father of three – two sons and a daughter – and his brother says his disappearance has caused untold agony in the family.

HENRY MURIMI MUGO, 28

murimi

Henry Murimi Mugo, 28, who went missing on June 9. PHOTO | POOL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Henry set off from Embu on June 9 to visit a cousin’s family in Thika. The next day, his cousin escorted him to the bus stop and left him after he had boarded a matatu at Blue Post. He was heading to his home in Kibugu, Embu. His phone went off and he did not arrive home.

His sister, Joy Kageni, says Murimi had been out of employment since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and had been doing casual jobs in different parts of the country. M-Pesa records show that he never withdrew the money he was given for bus fare. Police say his handset has never been used with another SIM card.

“We are currently searching in hospitals and morgues for the body of an unidentified male African adult to see if we can find him,” Ms Kageni said. His disappearance was reported at the Thika Police Station under OB number 30/20/6/2020.


ADAN SAIBU, 33

Swazuri Ali, Adan Saibu’s brother, is appealing to the public to report any information concerning Adan’s whereabouts to the police.

Their disappearance was reported at the Thika Police station under OB number 34 /25/4/2020.

Adan, a father of two, was a businessman and the family says he was always ready to offer a helping hand at all times. His family and that of Michael said that they also visited IG Hillary Mutyambai’s office to discuss the search mission.

DAFTON MWITIKI

DAFTON

Businessman Dafton Mwitiki who disappeared on March 11, 2020. PHOTO | POOL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The businessman disappeared on March 11, moments after he picked up his children from school. His brother, Victor Mwitiki, said Dafton left in a hurry, saying that he was heading to the office to finish up on some work. Ten days after Dafton was reported missing, his car was found abandoned near a coffee plantation in Juja.

The investigating officer said Dafton’s mobile phone was switched off in Roysambu on Thika Superhighway at 11:46pm on the day he went missing.

FRANCIS MUTUKU, 26

MUTUKU

Francis Mutuku, 26, the Kenyatta University student who disappeared on December, 20, 2019. PHOTO | POOL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The Kenyatta University Student was supposed to graduate on December 20, 2019 with a Bachelors of Education degree. On the eve of his graduation, his sister, Agnes Mutuku, says Francis called her and they spoke briefly.

Later on at 5pm he texted his mother: “Hello mum....been struggling in the hands of strangers since morning, pray for me in my last moments as they send me to dance with the angels.”

The phone was then switched off and seven months later, he is still missing.

JANE WARUGURU IHURE NGUNJIRI, 51

WARUGURU

Jane Waruguru Ihure, 51, a high School teacher who disappeared on June 14, 2020. PHOTO | POOL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Jane left her home in Amboseli Estate in South C in Nairobi heading for the CBD to meet a colleague who had accepted to be her guarantor for a loan.

Her husband, Mr Samuel Ndegwa, says CCTV cameras in the estate showed his wife left at 6.30am on the day she went missing.

The DCI, he said, took over the case from Langata Police Station where the incident was reported under OB number 74/15/6/2020. “It has been two weeks of agony,” he said.


JOHN NDUNGÚ KIMANI

The businessman was last seen on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 when he left home to go to work. To date, he has never been found.

His cousin, Moses Kiarie, says John’s phone was switched off on the same day he went missing.

“We have searched everywhere for him but we are yet to find him,” he says.

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