Nairobi — Two Kenyan officials abducted by Somalia's Al Shabaab insurgents in January 2012 have finally been released after border communities in North Eastern Province spearheaded the successful negotiations.
Edward Yesse Mule, a District Officer and Fredrick Irungu Wainaina, Registrar of Persons in Wajir South District were abducted at the Gerile AP border post about one and a half years ago, just after having the day's evening meal.
Efforts to bring them back home earlier were futile as the government declined to negotiate with terrorists.
The militia group also stood its ground demanding the release of all the 'Muslim prisoners being held in Kenya over terrorism charges' in exchange for Mule and Irungu's freedom.
It is still not clear who blinked first and perhaps what price Kenya had to pay for their release but it seems little compared to the freedom of the two Kenyans.
It is also not clear how many other Kenyans are still being held hostage in the conflict ridden country.
"The two, Edward Yesse Mule, a District Officer, and Fredrick Irungu Wainaina Registrar of Persons, Wajir South District, have now rejoined their families and are in sound health," a statement released late on Tuesday from State House said.
Government spokesman Muthui Kariuki had earlier on denied being aware of the release when contacted by Capital FM News, even though Mule's family had hinted that he was no longer captive after receiving the news on Monday.
"I am not aware that the Kenyans have been freed," insisted Kariuki on Tuesday morning.
The freed captives are understood to have spent hours after their release in the government's hands recording statements over their experiences during their long period of captivity.
In January this year, the militia group posted a heartbreaking video clip on YouTube giving the government a three week ultimatum to release the so-called prisoners of war failure to which they would execute the Kenyan hostages.
The three week ultimatum meant that the two Kenyans would be executed on Valentines' Day further compounding their families' anxiety.
Things got so bad after the families lost faith in the government and decided to take part in the negotiations as well.
"It is very sad. It is hard on my mother... 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," explained Komora at the time.
Nairobi Senator, then Makadara MP, Mike Mbuvi alias Sonko also reached out to the government asking it to fast track the release of the two Kenyans.
Sonko, who is Mule's neighbor in Nairobi's Buruburu estate, at the time accused the government of 'sleeping on the job' arguing that it had all the infrastructure necessary to facilitate their return.
"This is a very serious matter because the lives of these Kenyans are at risk. We cannot afford to lose these lives. 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," pleaded Sonko.
Now with news of the freedom spreading far and wide, the families can now sleep easy.
Mule's father has already indicated that he would dig deep into his pockets to host a party befitting a king, as he celebrates the return of his 'lost' 32 year old son.