Revealed: How Frank Obegi, four friends spent their final hours

Frank Obegi, Fred Obare, Moses Nyachae and Elijah Omeka

From left: Frank Obegi, Fred Obare, Moses Nyachae and Elijah Omeka. The bodies of the four men from Kasarani in Nairobi  were found in three different counties two weeks ago.

Photo credit: Pool | Nation Media Group

One of the four men from Kasarani in Nairobi whose bodies were found in three different counties two weeks ago had just returned to the capital from a weekend trip to Diani, Kwale County.

Elijah Omeka, whom the Nation has established was a doctor of philosophy (PhD) student at Kenyatta University, left Nairobi on Friday, June 10, in the company of two other friends whom the Nation cannot name for security reasons.

The two friends, who were not among those who were killed, intimated that Omeka did not have money and that they had funded the short holiday in Diani.

Causing a disturbance

The duo further revealed that they travelled to Mombasa via train and that one of their friends was arrested at the Nairobi standard gauge railway terminus for causing a disturbance.

The Nation learnt that, once word reached Frank Obegi, who was the best-known of the four slain men due to his social media activities, that Omeka was back from Mombasa, he tried to contact the PhD student. When he failed to reach Omeka, Obegi texted a mutual friend identified only as Lameck, asking about the PhD student’s whereabouts.

“Do you have money for drinks we come for a party,” asked Obegi.

Also roped into the plan for drinks was Fred Obare, who was Obegi’s neighbour at Seasons in Kasarani.

Pending matters

Moses Nyachae, who lived about two kilometres away at Santon, excused himself as he did not have money and had pending matters to handle regarding his online writing account.

Obegi and Obare then headed to Roysambu, on the opposite side of the Thika superhighway and ordered a round of Senator Keg beer as they waited for Omeka to resurface.

According to family members and a WhatsApp group of which the four friends were members, and whose content the Nation has seen, Omeka was never to resurface. The caretakers at the apartments where Obegi and Obare lived told the Nation that the two never returned to their houses after they left on Tuesday, June 14, in the afternoon.

Obegi and Obare’s bodies were discovered five days later in the same location in Lari, Kiambu County, alongside those of Kasarani politician Joseph Njau and Perminus Wanjohi, in what hints at the possibility that they were all kidnapped and murdered by the same people.

White Honda Fit

No one knows yet at what point Omeka was kidnapped. He is said to have left his house at Kamaki’s, off the Eastern Bypass in Nairobi, in a white Honda Fit registration number KCL 233G on June 14, the same day he was supposed to meet Obegi and Obare.

Omeka’s wife, Doreen Makena, called Nyachae a day later only to be informed that Obegi and Obare’s phones had also been switched off.

The two reported the matter at Kasarani Police Station at 10am on Thursday, June 16.

Parted at the gate

Makena says that they both left the station safely and parted at the gate.

Thereafter, Nyachae left for town where he was supposed to collect a package that had been sent by his mother from Kisii.

The package, which comprised a bunch of bananas, beans and sweet potatoes was supposed to be shared between Nyachae and his sister, who lives in Machakos.

The Nation learnt that two days earlier, Nyachae had called his mother and informed her that he did not have food.

“I told him to share with his sister whatever I had sent him,” Nyachae’s mother Priscilla said when the Nation visited their home in Keroka.

“The bus company that I used to send the package texted me at mid-day on June 16, saying the package had been picked up by Moses Nyachae, then at 5pm his sister called saying his phone was off and that the package had not arrived in Machakos,” said Nyachae’s mother, who added that she had talked to her son at 8am on the day he disappeared.

From our analysis of the times and circumstances under which the four friends disappeared, we can report that Obegi and Obare were kidnapped around Roysambu on the afternoon of Tuesday, June 14.

For his part, Omeka was kidnapped after leaving his house in Kamakis on the same day while Nyachae was kidnapped on June 16 after picking up the parcel from town and dumped in Magadi, Kajiado County.

Interestingly, despite availability of technology that could have helped retrieve mobile phone records, which in turn could have shown the last people these men communicated with and where their gadgets were switched off, no one has been able to account for their last moments.

Surveillance cameras

No CCTV footage has been provided to show the movement of Omeka’s car despite availability of surveillance cameras on all major city roads.

Omeka’s badly mutilated body was found at the Machakos hospital mortuary on June 25, more than 11 days after he left his house to meet his friends. His right leg had been chopped off and placed next to the rest of the body. The rib cage had reportedly been “ripped open”.

Wanted them dead

That the four friends were kidnapped in a span of 48 hours and dumped in Magadi, Lari and Machakos, more than 60 kilometres from where they were last seen, shows that whoever wanted them dead wanted it so badly.

Additionally, the killings were done so clinically that it would be hard to find out who did it and why.

“Even though Obegi’s body was badly mutilated, we are glad that we have laid him to rest. I plead with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government to investigate why young men are being killed,” said Obegi’s father Evans Mose during his burial in Bogwendo village, Nyamira County, on Tuesday.

Interestingly, the police are yet to record statements from the families of the four men and no one seems to know which police division is leading investigations between Kasarani and Lari. 

The only update from the police came on the day the bodies of the four were found, with Kasarani Divisional Police Commander Peter Mwanzo saying that “they led an unexplained life with an unexplained source of wealth”.

“We are still investigating whether they engaged in online fraud linked to cryptocurrency, as word has been going round,” said the police boss.

But with the police having gone silent on the murders and the burials of the four men all set to be completed next week, we may never know who wanted these friends dead and why.

Financially successful

The Nation established that Omeka was the oldest and most financially successful.

Besides the Honda Fit, he also owned a Toyota Prado and lived in his own house at Kamaki’s.

A visit to their homes, all of which fall within a 20-kilometre radius in Kitutu Masaba, Nyamira County, revealed that Omeka’s family is relatively wealthier. Apart from living in a sizeable mansion, his family also owns a block of rental houses at Omogonchoro market along the Kisii–Nyamira road.

The Nation also established that Obare and Nyachae, who hailed from Nyambaria and Riomanga villages, had been students at Kenyatta University but never completed their studies. Like Obegi, the two came from very humble backgrounds.

Youngest of the four

Obegi, the youngest of the four by at least 10 years, came to Nairobi in 2016 after writing his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams at Cardinal Otunga High School in Kisii.

He then enrolled for a bachelor’s degree in ICT at Multi Media University.

Obare and Nyachae were admitted to Kenyatta University and would have completed their studies in 2011.

At Kenyatta University, the two young men became friends with Omeka, who had been admitted to study a business-related course. Those who knew them said they were ordinary village boys come to the city but somewhere along the way they stumbled onto a mysterious source of money that made university education seem unimportant.

The young men would flaunt cash at the Student Centre and could be seen driving around; a status symbol on campus.

Then they all moved out of the university hostels to the neighbouring Kahawa Wendani estate.

Besides offering alternative accommodation, Kahawa Wendani was the business hub for the Kenyatta University community.

Here, enterprising students could make money doing assignments, term papers and sitting online exams on behalf of clients in developed countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom.

The illegal business, dubbed online writing, has become so popular among Kenyan university students that some just open accounts and sell them to their peers.

Money from the internet

One such account can fetch a minimum of Sh20,000 per month. It is here that Omeka, Obare and Nyachae discovered that they could make money from the internet.

“We moved with those boys from KU to Wendani and then they moved to Kasarani after their fortunes improved,” said a source who was their college mate and friend.

It is while they were residing in Kahawa Wendani and earning a living from online writing that they are suspected to have discovered a more lucrative and probably risky source of income.