Detectives rescue Somali woman from hands of kidnappers in $50,000 failed ransom

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Detectives from Kenya’s Crime and Research Intelligence Bureau rescued a 23-year-old woman of Somali descent in a coordinated search that took five days, arresting one of the men believed to have orchestrated the heinous act.

Hafsa Mohamed Lukman, a businesswoman operating in one of Nairobi’s busy suburbs of Eastleigh in the Kamukunji constituency, was first kidnapped by unknown men on June 15 under unclear circumstances, warranting the search, which was coordinated by detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations [DCI].

In a tweet, DCI confirmed that the woman was rescued at a “dingy room in Matopeni, within Kayole, where she had been forced to fit in a water tank”. Photos of the shocking tank that played host to Ms. Hafsa for five days were also displayed by the detectives.

The victim, DCI said, was last sighted at her clothing shop in Eastleigh before she was kidnapped by the criminal gang, whose main motive was to blackmail her facility ostensibly to solicit for funds. The kidnappers, DCI added, asked for $50,000 [Kshs5M] from her family in exchange for her freedom.

Later, the suspects would take a video record of the lady in which she appears tortured as she begged the family to rescue her. In the video, the lady is also heard begging for her life as the kidnappers hang the phone.

“Following an elaborate operation conducted by detectives from Crime Research and Intelligence Bureau and the Special Service Unit, Hafsa was rescued today morning,” the DCI department said in a tweet, Sunday.

The badly shaken woman who had visible bruises on her face and hands were immediately rushed to the hospital for medical attention. She is currently undergoing medication in a Nairobi hospital as the police interrogate one of the suspects.

“One 24-year-old suspect who is part of the gang that kidnapped Hafsa was arrested and is currently being interviewed by detectives,” the detectives added, noting that the suspect will shed more light on the incident before swift actions are taking against the perpetrators.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations, read the tweet, “is issuing a stern warning to any persons harboring the intention of committing such a heinous crime, that no efforts shall be spared in their pursuit”.

DCI is mandated to follow up small to big crimes in the country and is responsible for bringing culprits to books in many cases. The rescue of the lady comes amid the backdrop of cases of abduction targeting young girls in Nairobi and across Kenya.

Kenya’s papers on Sunday published a lead story detailing how young girls have been disappearing miraculously within the suburbs of Nairobi, only to be found dead elsewhere. The DCI encouraged citizens to report such incidents in time for swift actions.

“We thank the members of the public who volunteered information through our #FichuakwaDCI hotline, leading to the rescue of businesswoman. Should you have any information that may assist us in bringing the rest of the suspects to book,” the DCI further noted.