Detectives investigating the abduction and murder of four men who went missing after a lunch in Kitengela are grappling to unmask a mystery man and his girlfriend who enjoyed the last meal with the quartet.
Jack Anyango, 37, Elijah Obuong,35, Benjamin Imbayi, 30, and Brian Odour,36, were abducted on April 19, moments after the roast-meat meal at Enkare Club, never to be seen for 10 days.
It has since been established that they were driven across police roadblocks in Nairobi, Kiambu and killed in Murang'a -- a county that was outside the Disease Infected Zone, an indication that their kidnappers had authority to travel out of the locked-down region.
The bodies of Mr Obuong and Mr Imbai were found dumped in Mukungai River, Murang'a County, and Kieni Forest, Kiambu County, respectively, last Thursday. While three more bodies have been discovered in Murang'a, the families of Mr Anyango and Mr Oduor are yet to either find or identify their kin.
But in their quest to find the men's killers, detectives privy to the investigations yesterday told Nation they were hunting for the mystery man and woman who wined and dined with the now slain men in Kitengela.
Escaped abductors' dragnet
The middle-aged man, who identified himself on Facebook only as Erico, and his girlfriend managed to escape the abductors' dragnet by a whisker, a detective who sought anonymity because he is not authorised to give media briefs said.
Erico, the source said, was known to the quartet and after lunch he and his woman used a separate car as the slain men entered theirs -- a Toyota Mark X, registration KCQ 715C.
Detectives, according to the source, have identified Erico as the person who called the families informing them on possible abduction of the Kitengela quartet. Investigators believe the man and his female friend could have witnessed the abduction but the abductors were seemingly not interested in the duo.
"The two could have witnessed the abduction of the four. It seemed the abductors who possibly subdued the four blocked them before reaching to their car," said the detective.
"Erico's mobile phone signal was lastly recorded in Bungoma. We are pursuing him."
Bade the four goodbye
One of the four men, Mr Imbai, hails from Bungoma County, and homicide detectives suspect he and the mysterious Erico could have been village mates.
On April 20, Erico bade the four goodbye in a Facebook post after calling relatives and directed them where the car had been abandoned.
"Shine on your way, you got to fly your way home, shine on your way, you got to fly your way home. Yagla Aleeh," Erico posted. The identity and details of the woman in the mix remain scanty.
But even as police focus on Erico, it has emerged that detectives are yet to question anyone at Enkare Club, the last address the slain men were seen alive. More than 14 days after the abduction, neither the club owner nor his staff have been summoned.
Contacted, Kajiado County Police Commander Muthuri Mwongela yesterday said the case had been taken up by the Homicide Department of the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI).
"DCI headquarters dealing. Talk to them," he told Nation via SMS.
At the popular club, which appears to have contravened lockdown measures when it served the six clients, yesterday seemed evasive about the matter. However, a waitress told Nation in confidence that the four men were regular customers.
"I was not on duty on that day but they (the four) are regular customers, especially on weekdays. They were friendly customers, sometimes offering good tips like any other well-off customer. There was nothing unusual about them," she said.
The popular club, housed in a semi-permanent structure on Namanga Road, is known for its nyama choma and is popular with young people and rhumba music lovers.
The families of the four men want detectives to evaluate CCTV cameras within the vicinity of the club for any clues on how their relatives were kidnapped.