A Mother's Cry: Son Missing Four Years After Police Arrest


Four years ago in October 2014, Martin was arrested by police officers, booked in at Buru Buru police station, Nairobi and has since, never been seen again.
Martin was a matatu tout, he used to ply his trade in matatu number 41, according to his mother Esther Wangari commonly known as Mama Martin in Dandora.
According to the mother’s testimony, which was given during the Machaozi Ya Jana dialogue in Dandora, a platform created to bring the families of victims of extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances face to face with duty bearers to demand answers. According to Mama Martin, he was arrested by the police without committing any crime. She said that Martin was with his child buying mandazi when police officers came and arrested him.
“I searched for him all over, until I reached Buru Buru police station, that is where I found his name in the OB. I spoke with the Officer Commanding Police Station (OCS), a Mr Matoke, who told me they had arrested Martin, and in the evening, he got an epileptic attack, and they took him to a hospital,” Mama Martin says.
According to Mama Martin, she was taken aback by claims that Martin had an epileptic attack, a condition she had never seen in him since he was a small child.
She further narrates her ordeal at the hands of police.
They told her they released him late at night. To date, she has never seen him or his body. They told her to go to Mama Lucy’s hospital in Embakassi, where they claimed they had taken him, she searched for his name at the hospital, but it was not there.
On 2 February 2015, Matoke’s deputy named Hassan called her, asking if she was the one looking for a lost son. She affirmed that she was the one, and he asked her to report to Buru Buru (police station). Her first question to him was “have you found my Martin?” He did not answer and instead told her to go and see the OCS who will explain the status of her son.
Mama Martin went in search for the woman who was there when Martin was arrested, and they went to the station together. According to her, when the arrived at the station, the OCS said, “Mama Martin, I see you have come? Did you go to Mama Lucy’s hospital?” In which she replied yes to both questions.
Mama Martin sensed that this was no ordinary meeting after he asked her why she responded to his questions like a mad person. She explained to him that the police said that they had taken Martin to Mama Lucy Hospital but there was no records indicating he was ever there.
The OCS finally asked her whether she went to the mortuary? Shocked she asked “what am I going to do in the mortuary? When you told me that I should contend with the children that I have, you knew where my child was? You knew that you had killed him?”
According to Mama Martin, he stood up and slapped her falling to the ground. Other police officers present in his office, started assaulting her. She had to seek treatment in hospital because her face was swollen. They were trying to strangle me.
A young man saw her on the ground tried to rescue her. The woman she went with to the station started wailing which attracted a crowd. They were dragging me on the floor, when a woman shouted, “let us hear what that woman is saying.”
She asked the OCS “did you want to kill me the way you killed my son?” The OCS ignored her, entered his car and left.
Since that incident, Mama Martin says she developed pain in her body as a result of being assaulted by the officers.
“Recently on 20 October 2016, I was admitted at Kenyatta National Hospital. The doctor said I need to do surgery because there was a swelling on my back. I left the hospital in December. I haven’t been able to go back to the hospital because of the doctors’ strike.”
Mama Martin says she has so much pain in her heart because she has never even seen the body of her son.
“I have never seen my son since his arrest. I just want to bury my son and close that phase of my life.”
Author: Joseph Kariuki


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