Capital FM (Nairobi)

13 February 2013

Kenya: Kin of Hostages in Somalia Cry for Help

Photo: Stuart Price
Weapons seized from suspected Al Shabaab members (file photo): Families of Kenyans abducted by Al-Shabaab are appealing to the government to help bring them back safely.

Nairobi — Twenty-six-year-old Komora Yesse is an emotionally wrecked man.

His brother's heart-wrenching fate is due to be sealed within the next 20 something hours, in the war-torn Somalia.

So as the clock slowly ticks towards midnight Thursday, he will have to keep checking social networks to know whether or not the Al Shabaab terror group makes good its threat to execute his elder brother, Edward Mule and registration clerk Fredrick Irungu.

"It is very sad. It is hard on my mother because of the pain of losing a child. It is hard on my sister, his wife, my father and me. We just want to talk to him again. All I think of is Mule," says Yesse.

The extremists posted a heart breaking video on YouTube dubbed 'the last message' three weeks ago, in which Mule asks the government to save him so that he can see his family once more.

"We used to rely on the Al Shabaab Twitter handle to know that he was still alive but it was deleted. Then the video was released and it was very hard to watch it," he says.

"You can see sorrow in his eyes and even though I have watched it (video) five times already, it gets harder and harder each time."

The thought that his brother is staring at death in the face keeps gnawing at Yesse, as he blankly stares at his brother's portrait; a portrait taken when the 32-year old was appointed as the Burdei Divison Officer in 2011.

Helplessness, confusion and torment are words that cannot explain what he and his family members are going through.

And even though the government has made it clear that it will not negotiate with the group, Yesse is pleading and urging it to remember that Mule is someone's kin.

"I'm aware that the government has said that it will not negotiate with terrorists but there is a human face to it. He is my brother, we are family, and he is someone's son and close friend. They just have to do something," he pleads.

Mule and Irungu were kidnapped in Wajir town last January just after eating dinner.

Pleas to the government to help bring them back home remain unanswered even as the two face imminent execution on February 14.

"We don't know what will happen tomorrow because that is the last day and even as people celebrate Valentines we pray that they remember him," he adds.

"I just wish I could share his sorrows and tell him that everything will be okay."

The extremists are demanding for the release of "all Muslim prisoners held on so-called terrorism charges in Kenya" or else they execute the two and other Kenyans in their custody.

Even though Yesse knows how inhumane the Al Shabaab is, he continues hoping against all adversity that he will soon see his brother; his best friend.

And he must try and spread the same positive thoughts to his sister, mother and brother's wife to hold them together.

"We must keep hope alive and continue praying for him," he adds.

Outgoing Makadara MP Mike Mbuvi, alias Sonko, has repeated his plea that the government gives in to the demands of the Al Shabaab to save the two Kenyan lives.

Sonko says life is sacred and the government must do everything in its power to save the two.

"And as a concerned leader who is a close friend of one of the hostages, it really pains my heart to see these innocent Kenyans undergoing such a torturous moment. Life is sacred, life is holy, life is Allah given," he argued.

Sonko also says that he will initiate dialogue with the Al Qaeda linked group and also try to raise funds to save the two lives, even as he continues calling on the government to act.

He is further appealing to religious leaders to put pressure on the government to secure the hostages' release.

"This is a very serious matter because the lives of these Kenyans are at risk. We cannot afford to lose these live. I'm therefore appealing to the Al Shabaab group to give me more time as I negotiate with the government of Kenya to see to it that their lives are guarded.

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