A series of abductions targeting children has rocked Nairobi recently and sent chills down the spines of many parents. In most cases the kidnappers have contacted the victim’s parents asking for ransom but in some instances, the children disappear and are never found again. In some very unfortunate cases the kids are discovered dead.
Pictures of 5 year old Tania Omondi who was kidnapped last year November in her home in Nairobi’s Umoja estate have been all over the media but up to date, the little girl is yet to be found. Her parents who are yet to come to terms with the mysterious disappearance of their angel are still hopeful that Talia is still alive somewhere, maybe bearing a different name. They have not given hope on finding her. So far paid over sh 1 million to people who have called asking for ransom, but none of them has ever handed Talia back to them. The double crime here is that fellow Kenyans have exploited the parents grief by giving them false hope for cash….
Last month, six year old Kelly Muthoni was kidnapped during a Sunday service at the Mavuno Bellevue Church Nairobi but luckily the girl was rescued eight days later in a residential flat in Kariobangi North. Her kidnappers who had asked for a ransom of 5 million were later arrested and one of the suspects happened to be the girl’s aunt.
Earlier this month, the kidnappings of 12 year old Brian Kinyua Munene in Kahawa West and Aaron Hassan in Jogoo road in separate incidences, forced the police to issue alert against the crime and asked parents to be more vigilant.
Historically most kidnappings in Kenya have been perpetrated by the Al Shabaab militia, who in most cases target foreign aid workers. In an effort to secure her borders following the wave of kidnappings on foreigners last year, Kenya invaded Somalia in an operation nicknamed Operation Linda Nchi and have so far prevailed over the Shabaab militia. Recently in an historic bid, Kenya managed to capture Kismayu, an Al Shabaab stronghold.
However, the recent kidnappings targeting children are internal and as it seems, Kenyans might have realized there is easy money on the crime. We hear that hard up campus students in Kenya are getting involved in on the act as well.
A kidnapping case that led to the death of Sarah Aruwa, a 24 year old student in the USIU a few months ago revealed the extremes student will go to, just to live it large whilst in school. The culprits behind the kidnapping, who have since then been charged with murder in court, are the victims’ schoolmates and it is alleged that prior to the discovery of Sarah’s body in a bush in Kiambu, the kidnappers had asked the family for a 100,000Sh ransom.
Security experts believe the minute people start paying ransoms, kidnapping shifts from a crime to a business, and judging from the recent series of events, kidnapping in Kenya is headed in that direction, if nothing is done about it.