Many foreigners have in the past sought refuge in Kenya after fleeing their countries fearing for their safety. And as a country that relishes the rule of law and individual rights, such fugitives have been protected. Some have lived here for many years and only returned to their countries when they felt it was safe to do so.
Kenya is a signatory to international conventions that protect people who run away from their countries when their lives are in danger. However, if such people are suspected of having committed a crime, they only should be repatriated after due process. Those who seek their extradition must convince the Kenyan authorities that they are being sought justly.
It’s for this reason that the suspected abduction of a Somali scholar and businessman last week in Nairobi’s central business district calls for serious attention. Prof Abdiwahab Abdisamad is said to have been critical of his country’s government on social media and his family believes the regime in Mogadishu could have had a hand in his disappearance.
This is not the first time foreigners believed to be at loggerheads with their governments have been seized in Kenya and spirited away. They include a Nigerian Biafra separatist leader, whom his family claims was abducted in the country, as well as some Turks. It is, therefore, encouraging to note that the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has pledged to investigate the September 8 seizure of Prof Abdisamad.
The family of Prof Abdisamad has had its agony made worse by the fact that they don’t know his whereabouts and who was involved in his kidnap and why. The DCI should speed up the investigations and provide helpful information to ease the family’s anxiety.
However, while it is right to have people suspected of wrongdoing arrested to aid in investigations, they are innocent until proven guilty; hence the need for investigators to strictly follow the law as they search for the missing scholar.