Somalia arms deal: Mystery deepens over trader Zakariya Kamala Sufi

Zakariya Kamala Sufi Abashiekh, aka Sakaria Kamal. His family says he went missing on September 5.

For more than three weeks, family and friends of Zakariya Kamala Sufi Abashiekh, a Mombasa trader linked to the illegal supply of arms to Somalia, have been worried about his whereabouts.

His disappearance on September 5 prompted his family to go to court to demand that the police, who they claim are behind his abduction, produce him.

The mystery surrounding his disappearance intensified last Friday after Somalia's National Intelligence and Security Agency (Nisa) announced his arrest.

Questions are now being asked about how the 28-year-old businessman was captured in Somalia, as details presented in court and additional information obtained by Nation show that he was abducted by unidentified people in Mombasa’s city centre.

The man Nisa claims to have captured as he prepared to disappear and hide in areas still controlled by al-Shabaab was reportedly abducted in Kenya on September 5.

Before his family took the matter to court, human rights organisations raised the alarm.

Nation has exclusively obtained CCTV footage from sources close to the investigations, who said it was of the moment his vehicle was surrounded by unknown men in Posta area on Makadara Street.

The source of the video cannot be revealed due to the sensitivity of the matter.

The video shows more than six well-built men in two unmarked white Toyota Land Cruisers involved in the daylight abduction, which lasted less than a minute. However, it was not easy to identify the people in the video.

In the midst of the action, a double-cabin pick-up truck could be seen nearby, apparently being used to block passers-by from seeing what was happening.

Three men jumped out of the vehicle; one wearing a red T-shirt, khaki shorts and black trainers, the other wearing a grey cap, jacket, grey jeans and black trainers and the third wearing a shirt, shorts and dark trainers. They are seen walking towards a white car driven by Mr Abashiekh.

The man in the cap then walks to the driver's door of the car Mr Abashiekh was in and opens it before he is seen getting out. He was wearing a light green T-shirt. The other person, wearing a red T-shirt, goes to the back of the car and opens the boot.

He is later thrown into the white Land Cruiser, someone else takes over the wheels of his car and traffic returns to normal.

The trader was out on a Sh1 million bail after being charged with illegally shipping arms to Mogadishu. He was due to appear in a Shanzu court on September 22.

Expressed concern

When he was arraigned in May, the government had expressed concern that it would be best for his safety to remain in custody due to the constant threats he was receiving from unidentified individuals in his home country.

Last week, the family's lawyer, Mr Jared Magolo, petitioned the Mombasa High Court to order the police to produce the businessman.

“ I have made enquiries and visited the offices of the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit at the regional headquarters but he is nowhere to be found and the officers are not giving any information," Mr Magolo said in a petition filed before Justice Ann Ong'injo.

Justice Ong'injo gave the State two weeks to respond to the application.