What you need to know:
- Bones, clothes and belts believed to belong to the two missing Indians and their Kenyan driver were transported from Aberdare forest to Nairobi for forensic analysis.
- Investigations have narrowed down to 12 officers who were part of the disbanded Special Service Unit (SSU), believed to have participated in the abduction of the three men.
- Zulfiqar Khan, Mohamed Zaid and taxi driver Nicodemus Mwania were last seen leaving a club in Westlands on July 23.
Bones, clothes and belts believed to belong to the two missing Indians and their Kenyan driver were transported from Aberdare forest to Nairobi for forensic analysis yesterday as investigations into their disappearance shifted a gear higher.
Investigations have narrowed down to 12 officers who were part of the disbanded Special Service Unit (SSU), believed to have participated in the abduction of the three men.
At least 21 officers are said to have been interrogated by the Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) at their headquarters in Upper Hill, Nairobi.
Three of these officers had reportedly by last evening been identified as having played a direct role in the disappearance of the Indians, who are thought to be ICT experts.
The three officers – a chief inspector, a sergeant and a corporal – had their official cars detained at Capitol Hill police station, Nairobi, when a review of CCTV footage from the roads near the hotel the two Indians were kidnapped captured them.
Zulfiqar Khan, Mohamed Zaid and taxi driver Nicodemus Mwania were last seen leaving a club in Westlands after a night of partying on July 23.
They are believed to have been kidnapped near a hotel on Mombasa Road.
A four-week search by a fresh team of officers on the orders of President William Ruto gave hope of closure on the matter after skeletons and items believed to belong to the three were found in the Aberdares.
A team of at least 100 police officers drawn from several stations had since Monday been combing the forest under the command of the IAU which took over the investigations on September 18.
This was after it emerged that an assistant inspector general of police based at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) was said to have been among the senior officers frustrating investigation by Langata police station where it was first reported.
The discovery of the bones and other items came a week after it emerged that India had complained to Kenya, demanding the release of the two men who were at the time thought to be in police custody.
“Our High Commission has been in continuous touch with Kenyan authorities. We are also in touch with family members. We are keeping a close eye. I’m afraid they’re still missing,” the spokesman for India’s Foreign Affairs Ministry told journalists on October 14.
“They’ve been missing in Kenya since July 23. A police complaint was filed soon after that. Subsequently, a petition was filed in the Kenyan court. We understand that the issue is now... in the High Court of Kenya. A number of hearings have taken place.”
During his Mashujaa Day speech on Thursday, President Ruto promised to get to the bottom of the matter and punish those involved.
“We can efficiently and effectively suppress crime, monitor, disrupt and apprehend criminals without abducting, torturing, killing or causing citizens to disappear,” he said.
According to Indian media, Khan, 48, is a well-known media professional who previously worked as the Chief Operating Officer of Balaji Telefilms – known for soap operas, reality TV and comedy productions.
He reportedly came to Kenya as a tourist.
Not much is known about Zaid or what his mission in Kenya was.
Part of Ruto team
Yesterday, Mr Dennis Itumbi, who was a senior member of Dr Ruto’s campaign communication team, said the two Indians were working in the Kenya Kwanza presidential team ahead of the August 9 elections.
“When I first met him, he gave me his card and said he had been attracted by our campaign online strategy and offered to support us for free with his skills. I shared my number and told him not to do anything,” said Mr Itumbi on his social media pages about Mr Zaid.
“We became friends. Sometimes when our team was overwhelmed and we needed a graphic, I sent their way and they paused whatever they were doing and did me the favour. They always did something extra.”
Detectives yesterday summoned Mr Zaid’s Kenyan friends to confirm if any of the clothes and belts belong to him.
Also summoned was Mr Mwania’s family.
Arrangements have begun to trace the families of Mr Zaid and Mr Khan in India to provide DNA samples.
While proving the identities of the bones could take time, the IAU continues to tie up the pieces under acting director Esther Ngang’a.
Acting Inspector-General of Police Noor Gabow ordered the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to expedite investigations into all cases of disappearances following a dressing down by the President.
Without giving timelines, Mr Gabow also directed that the IAU finalises all criminal investigations against police officers.
It came a day after President Ruto hit out at police officers over involvement in enforced disappearances, extra-judicial killings and many other crimes.
Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka questioned the purge targeting the SSU.
He said high-level pronouncements by Dr Ruto have far-reaching implications.
“Who prepared the report leading to the purge?” he asked.
Jubilee Secretary Jeremiah Kioni added that criminal cases against high-profile individuals are being withdrawn while police officers are being maligned and punished.
Mr Kioni said Azimio would not just stand aside and watch as officers are condemned for serving in the unit.
“It is worrying that criminal cases are withdrawn while officers are being lined up for punishment. People may have been killed but we cannot allow this blanket condemnation,” Mr Kioni said.
Dr Ruto last weekend disclosed that he directed the disbandment of the unit.
“I am the one who ordered that the SSU, which was conducting extra-judicial killings, be disbanded. We have a plan on how to secure this country,” he said.
Additional reporting by Nicholas Komu and Moses Nyamori