Somalia: Abductors Handed Scholar Sh2,000 for Ride Home After 10 Days in Captivity

NAIROBI [The Star] The Kenyan-Somali researcher who was abducted from the city centre in Nairobi and later released unharmed says he cannot recognize those who abducted him.

This is because the captors wore balaclavas all the time they interacted with him.

Abdiwahab Sheikh Abdisamad who was the executive director of the Institute for Horn of Africa Strategic Studies and an analyst at Southlink Consultants talked to his family and friends at his South C home a day after his release and revealed part of what happened to him while in captive.

According to those who have talked to him, Abdisamad says the abductors were interested in his activities and connections in Somalia and regional security.

Interestingly and shocking to him, the abductors did not take away his pistol that had 15 bullets.

It was handed back to him when he was dropped in South C on Sunday evening. Abdisamad is a licensed gun holder.

He said after he was picked up from Tubman Road in the city as he walked to a hotel to meet a friend, he was blindfolded and driven to an undisclosed location.

Therein, he was kept in a safe house where at times his abductors talked to him through speakers mounted there.

The handlers wore balaclavas all the time they engaged him and gave him his medicine on time, fed him on time, provided a room for his prayers and provided him with a warm shower.

"He says at one point they showed him pictures of his trip to Somalia. All moments while in Somalia were captured and he seemed not to remember and this was the basis of his detention," said a family member who talked to him.

At one point, those holding him tabled three passports- from Kenya, Somalia and Turkey- and asked him to choose one. He chose the Kenyan one.

He did not explain what happened with the rest and why the passports were produced.

"I think they wanted to test his loyalty. He is a Kenyan from Wajir," said the relative.

Abdisamad told the friends the abductors kept asking him questions on Kenyan security issues, terrorism and maritime case pending at an international court and his connection.

He added he is yet to decide if he will seek legal redress over the issue.

Those who saw him said he looked shaken and worried in general and is not ready to engage the state on the issue.

Days after he was taken away, he was put on the phone and talked to his family to tell them he was somewhere and safe.

He however did not know where he was but thinks it is far away from the city.

After spending 10 days in the hands of his abductors, Abdisamad said he heard they say he needed to go back home and was relieved. All along he had his eyes covered.

The men holding him called a bodaboda and asked him to come to a place near the local mosque to deliver someone to his house within South C.

It was about 9 pm and Covid-19 pandemic curfew time was drawing nearer.

On reaching the agreed destination, the abductors handed Abdisamad Sh2,000 and told him to pay the rider, dropped him to the ground from the car and removed his blind before they drove off.

The rider took him to where he was asked to and rode off as the scholar was reunited with his family.

Police have denied they were involved in the drama.

Police spokesman Bruno Shioso said they were also looking for him after the family complained he had been abducted.

"We also don't know what happened and would love to hear from him," he said.

The abduction prompted the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslim leadership to visit the DCI headquarters and sought to address the rising cases of enforced disappearances.

He was picked up by men at about 10 am as he walked into a hotel.

In Mombasa, a terror suspect, Abdulhakim Salim Sagar who was also picked up on August 19 was Sunday released.

He is a cousin to Hanniya Sagar, wife of slain Islamic preacher Aboud Rogo. It is not clear if there is a link between the two cases.

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