A senior police officer and his junior were yesterday arraigned in a Nairobi court after they allegedly abducted two Ethiopian rebels in Nairobi.
Last week the two cops allegedly arrested the men and drove them to the Ethiopian border where they were handed them over to Ethiopian intelligence officers. Investigators believe that the Ethiopian officials then murdered the two rebels but could not confirm it.
Police Chief Inspector Painito Bera Ng’ang’ai and constable James Ngaparini did not plead as the prosecution asked the court to remand the suspects for three days so that they could complete investigations. Defence lawyers Cliff Ombeta and Kirathe Wandungi did not oppose the remand application.
Trial magistrate Doreen Mulekyo ordered the two officers to be remanded at Kileleshwa police station. They will answer to the charge on February 6.
Ng’ang’ai and Ngaparini allegedly abducted Ali Ahmed Hussein and Sulub Abdi from the Arabian Cuisine restaurant in Upper Hill in Nairobi on Sunday, January 26. The two were officials of the Ogaden National Liberation Front who had come for a meeting in Nairobi.
The ONLF is a separatist rebel group established in 1984. It is fighting to make the Ogaden in eastern Ethiopia an independent state. Eight million Somalis live in the Ogaden.
Kenya police officers arrived in three cars at the the restaurant while they were having lunch. They were bundled into a black Toyota Prado that was later recovered in Turbi near the Kenya Ethiopia border.
Three men hired the black Toyota Prado registration number KBS533S from Victor Safaris and Tours Ltd based in Westlands on January 25.
At the car hire, Ng’ang’ai left his police Certificate of Appointment No 232929 for identification.
Yesterday the car hire firm said he had switched off his mobile phone and had not been taking the company’s calls since last week. The company wanted to know why the Prado had not been returned.
The driver identified himself to Victor Safaris as Hassan Bonaya. CCTV footage seen by the Star shows three men waiting at the car hire firm’s reception at Westlands last Saturday.
Victor Safaris director Solomon Kiuna said two Kenyan men of Somali origin came to his office at The Mall in Westlands on Saturday, January 25.
“They were brought to us by a broker. They did not initially have identity documents and I turned them away but they came later with another man,” said Kiuna.
That man introduced himself as Bera and said he wanted the car to travel to Moyale to cover a political event organized by a Nairobi county assembly member.
“Bera left his Police ID and we entered into an agreement,” Kiuna said.
The agreement indicates that Painito Bera Ng’ang’ai hired the vehicle for three days from January 25, 5pm to January 28 at Sh18,000 per day.
The broker received Sh6,000 as brokerage fee from Kiuna via mobile money transfer. Kiuna said Ng’ang’ai had never hired a vehicle from his firm before.
“The car has a car track and we traced it to Marsabit,” Kiuna said.
The vehicle was intercepted in Turbi by police who arrested the junior police officer who Ng’ang’ai asked to accompany him to Moyale.
Investigators are now trying to establish whether other police officers were involved in the abduction of the two Ethiopians.