Police have formed a special squad to investigate and solve cases of abduction which they say are a threat to national security.
A meeting held among senior police officers concluded that kidnapping incidents are some of the issues that pose a major threat to security ahead of next year’s general election.
They said child abduction is also a major issue but promised a robust solution.
Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i said the squad has been given special resources to act and solve the problem.
He however downplayed the magnitude of the problem terming it a small issue.
“We have agreed that we will deploy special and aggressive resources to deal with this issue. It is a very small matter, as already the DCI has made great strides in tracking the gangs behind this,” Matiang’i said.
The CS said some of the reported issues are out of illegal business dealings which backfire and lead to abductions and killings.
“Some of these incidents involve criminal business attitudes, some of our people have predatory attitude. People get into informal but criminal business arrangements but when they go south, they now resort to murdering each other. We are however sorting it,” he said.
When the issues get out of hand, the parties involved tend to create an impression that police have a challenge in solving it, he said.
His remarks come in the wake of reports of many abduction incidents across the country.
They involve both children and adults. The meeting was informed that some of these incidents are linked to human smuggling and trafficking.
The DCI was directed to step up efforts in tracing the gangs behind the trend and tame them.
Matiang’i made the remarks on Monday during this year’s Inspector General’s conference in Nairobi.
The meeting was meant to address threats standing in the way ahead of the 2022 polls.
Officials at the meeting said some of the abductions under investigations were linked to past criminal activities.
So far, a number of cases involving children have been solved while some are still under probe.
For instance, officials believe the incident that happened on June 29 where a Nyeri businessman was kidnapped by a four-man gang, is linked to his past criminal activities. He had been linked to poaching.
Gerald Guandaru was abducted a few metres from his barbershop by men who were waiting for him to arrive at the establishment.
He and his workers are yet to be found but police and the family said there have been calls made to the family with no demands.
The gang members who had covered their faces, knocked on the car window and ordered him to step out of his vehicle.
Police said investigations are still ongoing into the kidnapping of businessman Dafton Mwitiki, who went missing on March 11, 2020.
He had been linked to criminal activities including a gang of five that kidnapped a grandchild to politician Mark Too early last year.
His car was later found abandoned next to a dam in Kiambu. The 38-year-old father of two was reported missing at Kilimani after he failed to return home on the night of March 11.
On April 19, 2021, four friends were kidnapped from Kitengela area before bodies of some of them were later found in a river in Murang’a.
Jack Ochieng, 37, alongside Elijah Obuong, 35, Benjamin Imbayi, 30 and Brian Oduor, 36, went missing on April 19 from Enkare Nightclub in Kitengela, Kajiado county, where they had stopped to have lunch. Some of them had pending criminal cases in court.
Police say they have dozens of pending cases of kidnapping and they are still under investigations.
According to the National Crime Research Centre, factors encouraging the crime include unemployment, high incidence of poverty, existence of gangs and militia, retrogressive cultural practices, instability and conflicts in some regions, inefficiency and/or corruption among some members of the security system, political competition and rivalry.
Other factors are marginalisation of some areas, proliferation of illegal small arms and light weapons and competition for control of resources.
Among others, the centre wants the National Intelligence Service and the National Police Service to improve their intelligence gathering and sharing, detection and investigative capacities with regard to the crime of kidnapping.
-Edited by SKanyara