Azimio: Maina Njenga grabbed by killer police unit

Martha Karua

Narc Kenya party leader Martha Karua addresses journalists on the alleged abduction of Mr  Maina Njenga at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinda Foundation in Nairobi on September 17, 2023. She is flanked by Eugene Wamalwa (left) and Jeremiah Kioni.

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

Opposition politicians have accused the government of instigating the abduction of former Mungiki leader Maina Njenga through a crack unit of the National Police Service.

Speaking at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation offices, Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua said Mr Njenga’s kidnapping by armed men in civilian clothes was carried out by members of the Special Service Unit, which was disbanded by President William Ruto last year following allegations of extrajudicial killings.

“We are here to stand in solidarity with the family of Mr Njenga over his gangster-style abduction by police last night, which we condemn in the strongest possible terms,” said Ms Karua.

“The kidnappers, we now know from the family, were in Subarus. They were armed and hooded. These are characteristics of the Special Service Unit that terrorised Kenyans during the protests. The [unit] is therefore very much alive, active and determined to intimidate and even harm Kenyans,” Ms Karua added.

This was the fourth time, Mr Njenga had been kidnapped, Ms Karua said, alleging that the abduction was an attempt by the police to interfere with Mr Njenga’s pre-trial proceedings in a case where he has been charged with possessing offensive weapons. The interference, she added, was driven by a lack of sufficient evidence to support the case.

“His abduction is also part of the ongoing targeting and intimidation of Azimio leaders by Kenya's illegitimate regime. It is an attempt to distract Kenyans from the economic mess they have plunged Kenyans into,”she said.

“We demand his immediate and unconditional release or his immediate appearance in court. We will hold the Inspector-General of Police fully responsible for the life and well-being of Maina Njenga, his family and associates should anything happen."

Mr Njenga’s lawyer Ndegwa Njiru said his client had called him to inform him of his abduction and that neither he nor his family knew his whereabouts. However, he was convinced that Mr Njenga was in police custody.

“He was able to identify his abductors and there is no doubt that his abductors are police officers. As yet, we do not know the reason for his abduction. We do not know his whereabouts, but we know that he is in police custody,” said Mr Njiru.

“Should anything happens to him, the police will be held responsible. He is supposed to appear before the Makadara magistrate’s court," he said.

Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka said the incident was a “complete reversal of the gains” the country had made in ensuring the rule of law.

Mr Njenga and his personal assistant were abducted by people claiming to be police officers while visiting a friend in Kiambu County.

His abductors, who were driving a vehicle with South Sudanese number plates, blocked his car and introduced themselves as detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations who wanted to question him about an unspecified matter. The police are yet to comment on the incident.