Just who is abducting people off the streets, detaining them for weeks on end and releasing them at will?
The disappearance and sudden reappearance of businessman Abdulhakim Salim Sagar and Somali scholar Abdiwahab Sheikh Abdiswamad has left Kenyans puzzled after the duo refused to talk about their abduction ordeals.
Mr Sagar and Dr Abdiswamad, their families, friends and even lawyers all yesterday declined to disclose any details about their roughly one-month captivity, despite having made multiple appeals through the media for release of their loved ones at the time of their detention.
Confirming his release, Dr Abdiswamad’s wife, Halima Mohamed, said her husband who was abducted 11 days ago along Tubman road in Nairobi had been freed on Sunday evening and that he was in good health.
She, however, declined to give any further details into the abduction and surprise release of her husband.
This was the same script followed by Mr Sagar’s family, who yesterday said they had not so far noticed any signs of torture or injuries on the businessman, but added that they had taken him to the hospital for checkups.
Police have distanced themselves from any involvement in the disappearance and resurfacing of the two, deepening the mystery of the now rising cases of abductions countrywide.
Mr Sagar was abducted by people suspected to be Anti-Terror Police Unit officers on August 18 after attending evening prayers. He was freed on Sunday and abandoned in a forest near Voi town, Taita Taveta, and given Sh2,000 as fare back to Mombasa.
“Physically he is okay but he is currently in the hospital for checkup. We are happy that our brother has returned safe and sound,” Mr Sagar’s brother, Faris Sagar said. He declined to disclose more details about his brother’s disappearance or health condition; only promising to divulge more as soon as they received his medical report.
He, however, called for respect for human rights, noting that detention without trial is unconstitutional. “We are happy about his release but we still want to know the people who abducted him and why,” Faris said.
A close source to the family said Mr Sagar is currently nursing rib injuries and the effects of being exposed to cold weather.
Hussein Abdinasir, the deputy secretary-general of Jamia Mosque Committee, told the Nation that they felt relieved after being informed of Dr Abdiswamad’s and Mr Sagar’s release. However, the Jamia Mosque Committee called on the Directorate of Criminal Investigations boss George Kinoti to investigate the matter and make public the full report of those behind the two abductions. “We want answers to the abductions. We just know that they were taken somewhere for questioning but the families have not given us any further details,” he said.
He wondered why the abducted individuals had not been charged in any court if they were criminals. The mosque’s committee also expressed its concern with the apparent gagging of the families of the abducted persons.
Hassan Ole Naado, the deputy secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims, demanded that the State issues a statement on the progress made on the other Kenyans abducted in different parts of the country. “This menace of abductions is terrorism on its own. Arresting and abducting citizens without telling them their crime or charging them in a court of law is terrorism. The families of the released fellows are very scared that they cannot even speak. We are a country ruled by law and our actions should show that.”
Mvita MP Nassir Abdulswamad and Mombasa Senator Mohamed Faki condemned security agencies ‘for violating the law by detaining people without first obtaining court orders’. “Crime cannot be correlated to a tribe or religion. People cannot just be abducted anyhow and yet we have the Constitution,” said Mr Faki.
Police Spokesperson Bruno Shioso said security agents had received news of the release of the two abducted persons just recently and they were following closely on new leads that would help them bring the perpetrators to book. He challenged the people saying the police were involved to openly come forward and prove it.
Reported By Steve Otieno, Brian Ocharo and Farhiya Hussein