Police in Kisumu have arrested a suspected serial kidnapper and rescued two girls aged between six and seven.The girls went missing two months ago.
The suspect allegedly abducted one of the girls in Kisii town and the other at a funeral ceremony in Chabera, Homa Bay County.
It is feared that the man may have been involved in a spate of abductions in the region after one of the parents of the rescued children told detectives that the suspect abandoned a young girl in Chabera.
"He attended the funeral like any other mourner. He spent two nights, but on the third day he disappeared with my daughter, leaving behind a 10-year-old girl he had come with. We later learnt that the child had been stolen from Oyugis," said Ms Sharon Amondi.
The suspect's cover was blown on Sunday after one of the women who contributed money for his bus fare three weeks ago at a market called Obambo in Kisumu West sub-county identified him along with the youngsters at a burial ceremony in the area.
When questioned by the area chief, Mary Adhiambo, the suspect's explanation raised suspicions, prompting the chief to call in the police.
"When we asked him about his home area, he could not say. He could not even remember the name of his place but claimed to be from a village in Sori, Migori County," said the chief.
But before the police could take him away, the woman who raised the alarm remembered that two days after the suspect had left with the children, someone had come to Obambo market to report that her missing daughter had been seen in the area.
"I called the market manager because she was the one who spoke to the woman and she gave me the number of the stranger. It later turned out that one of the minors abducted in Kisii town on 18 August belonged to her," the administrator said.
One parent said the suspect, who was mostly seen on the streets of Kisii town in the company of a little girl he claimed to be his daughter, used to visit her kiosk to buy food.
She said the frequent visits to her stall had led to a friendship between her seven-year-old daughter and the suspect's 'child'.
"On the fateful day, he lured my girl with the promise of buying her snacks from a nearby shop. That's the last time I saw my daughter," said the parent.
She later received a tip-off from a relative that her missing child had been seen in the company of a man at Otonglo market on the outskirts of Kisumu city.
"When I responded, I was told that the suspect had already left but had been sighted at Obambo market," she said.
The area chief said that during interrogation, the children revealed that their abductor had sexually abused them.
"They told us that he would spread a sack in the bush and defile them during the night," Ms Adhiambo said.
The suspect is currently being held at Maseno Police Station.
The area OCPD, Julius Meli, said he would soon be transferred to Chabera police station, where one of the abduction reports was made.