On the afternoon of Monday October 30, 2023, Abdirashid Hish Mohamed, 30, was in his shop in Garissa town when five men in civilian clothes knocked on the door and identified themselves as police officers.
They told the businessman that they needed him to come with them for questioning on an unspecified matter. Mr Mohamed, confused by the strange visit, refused, saying he had no way of knowing they were police without seeing any identification or official uniforms.
It's at this point, according to witnesses, that the men, with the help of uniformed police they had called in for backup, forcibly arrested Mr Mohamed and a colleague who was in the shop. They were taken to Garissa police station.
According to his elder sister, Maryan Hish, that was the last day they saw Mr Mohamed.
“We were not aware all this had happened until 6pm when his colleague was released. He called and informed us of what had transpired. The two had refused to leave the shop until the men in civilian clothing called for uniformed police officers,” said Ms Hish.
According to the family, the two were taken into a police vehicle.
“Their phones were confiscated. But the colleague was released after 30 minutes and given back his phone. That is when he called us,” she said.
“When we reached Garissa police station at around 6pm, the officers refused to write an OB number on the matter. They told us they were processing my brother for release,” said Ms Hish.
According to Mr Mohamed’s family, he was then produced and they saw him briefly. But as he was being escorted out of the police station’s premises, he was hurriedly bundled into an unmarked vehicle with no number plates.
His relatives say they now suspect that he was abducted by officers from the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU).
When the Nation contacted Abdirashid’s father, Hish Mohamed Maalim, he could not utter a full sentence without breaking down in tears.
“My son was forced to sign some papers before he was released. They claimed they were escorting him outside the police station, but immediately they reached outside, my son was put in an unmarked vehicle. He started shouting to us that the same man who had arrested him was abducting him. Immediately, the vehicle sped off and that was the last time I saw my son,” the father said.
The family is now demanding that the police to produce their son.
“He was born and raised in Garissa, went to school here and now he is a businessperson,” Mr Mohammed said.
Ms Hish said: “Government of Kenya, you promised us there would be no more extra-judicial killings in this country. You said every person is innocent until proven guilty. I ask the government to help us trace my brother and let him be brought back safely.”
Garissa Township Sub-county Police Commander James Ng'etich refused to comment on the case.
"I cannot give you that information. [For] the information you are looking for, you will have to talk to the County Director of Criminal Investigations, Josephat Ndung’u," said Mr Ng'etich.
Efforts to get comment from Mr Ndung’u proved futile as he did not respond to our calls.
The family has since reported the abduction to the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA).