New details have emerged nearly two weeks after Nairobi Businessman Dafton Mwitiki was reported missing.
Police now say that Mr Mwitiki was a leader of a criminal gang involving some of its officers. They were involved in high ransom kidnappings in and around Nairobi.
Confidential sources within the security circles said Mwitiki was living on borrowed time after he was linked to two major cases of kidnap in Nairobi. In one of the incidents that involved a Chinese man, the kidnappers demanded a Sh100 million ransom.
Four suspects among them Administration Police officers were killed by the Special Service Unit officers during a rescue mission on February 29th. According to police, four men identified themselves as officers from Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), stormed a shop in Nairobi’s China Center, a business hub where a lot of Chinese shops or Chinese stores are located. The kidnappers then called the Chinese’s brother, demanding a ransom of $1 million (Sh100 million).
The kidnapping of the man got the attention of security agencies including the DCI and NIS. The abducted man according to the DCI was kidnapped from his shop on February 27 by individuals impersonating officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.
“Forensic intelligence led the investigating team to Hse no. 2199, where the victim was being held under an armed four-man-guard, who had demanded a $1million (Sh100 million) ransom from his brother to secure his release,” the DCI said via Twitter.
A police pistol and bullets were recovered from a house at Sun Track Estate in Dagoretti where the victim was being held.
Behind the scenes, the confidential sources said, the mobile phone line used to demand ransom was registered in Mwitiki’s name.
This incident is believed to have been the first that lifted the lid of the man believed to have been pulling the strings in the Chinese national kidnapping.
“The callers were using what looked like a sophisticated phone which even the DCI investigators could not trace. It is at this point that NIS came into the probe and helped unravel the behind the scenes actors,” said a senior official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Prior to this, Mwitiki is said to have been linked to another case of kidnapping where a university student was abducted in Nairobi and a Sh100 million ransom demand made. This matter was reported to Kilimani Police Station on January 13 but the DCI dropped the investigations after the family negotiated with the kidnappers.
Eventually, the family paid Sh4 million to have the relative freed. The sources said the same line registered in Mwitiki’s name was used to demand a ransom.
The 38-year-old father of two, a sharpshooter, and an official of the association of civilian firearm holders was reported missing at Kilimani after he failed to return home on the night of March 11.
His vehicle was traced a day later to an estate in Juja. Mwitiki was last seen near his workplace at Galana Plaza in Kilimani, Nairobi before he mysteriously disappeared.