On September 1, 2019, 15-year old Theresa Akinyi Okombo (Terry), a form one student at St Cecilia Aluor Girls Secondary School, Siaya County, left her mother’s house at Kawangware at around 9am never to be seen again.
She was scheduled to travel back to school and her mother Juliet Okombo, upon realizing her school travel bag was missing asked her to go and fetch it from a friend she had apparently lent it to her.
Terry did not return home leading her mother to launch a panic search for her whereabouts that Sunday evening.
Kahawa Tungu understands that Terry had been seen by people in the neighbourhood socializing with a male neighbour from an adjacent plot. This neighbour was a Luhya Muslim by the name Moses Bulumu alias Musa.
The search also revealed that Terry had some of her clothes in Musa’s house; a fact that was proven when the mother alongside neigbours went into Musa’s house and found Terry’s belongings.
On the fateful Sunday, Terry had called one Musa using Millicent Akinyi Suso phone, a shop lady in Kibera.
“The shop lady confirmed this fact,” says the family.
On September 2, there was no sign of Terry coming back home, prompting the mother to report to the Chief’s Camp, at Kawangware but nothing was done.
She then reported to Muthangari Police Station on September 3, 2019 under OB No. 41/3/9/2019. Immediately the OCS, Mr Peterson Kang’u directed the case to Madam Ruth Mangole and ordered immediate search and arrest of Musa and a Latiff Haro who were mentioned as persons of interest because the missing girl Terry was last seen by neigbours at their house.
Both Musa and Latiff went missing from Kawangware. The Muthangari police officers then arrested Latiff’s brother who was working at their elder brother’s (Kafar Haro) play station shop.
“It was their belief that in so doing, the arrested brother could produce the missing Latiff who would in turn provide information on Musa’s whereabouts.The OCS released him the following day with a promise from Kafar that they would produce the missing girl the following day. This was not to happen,” adds the family.
After a number of visits by the mother at Muthangari Police Station, the OCS handed over the case to the DCIO Kabete, Mr Francis Wanjau on September 9. The DCIO appointed Mr Fred Ochieng Ambasa as the key Investigating officer for the case.
On September 9, 2019 DCI Officers raided Moses’s house in Kawangware and arrested a man named Gideon who was in the house. He provided useful information on Musa’s whereabouts, the family says. Musa was still in hiding and had not returned to his house in Kawangware since the Monday after Terry disappeared.
“Gideon provided critical information on Musa’s workplace. Musa was apparently a driver to a Somali lady who lived along Riara Road. The police were able to identify the location where Musa worked and visited the place,” adds the family.
It is alleged that the Investigating Officer, Mr Ambasa called Musa’s employer (the Somali lady) and ordered her to produce Moses at DCI Kabete for questioning.
The lady was hesitant, claiming that the police were harassing her employee and that she was not prepared to produce him.
However, on September 16, 2019, Musa’s boss produced him at DCI Kabete where he was immediately arrested for questioning on Terry’s whereabouts.
Musa, according to information in our possession, admitted to knowing Terry, and also admitted that Terry had called him the day she disappeared.
He denied knowing her whereabouts claiming it was his friend Latiff who knew where Terry was. Unfortunately, Latiff has proven too elusive for the police to find.
Musa was later released for what the police said was lack of evidence, despite failing to record a statement from the shop lady who gave Terry the phone.
Also, none of Terry’s properties was recovered from Musa’s house.
Ambasa and his colleague Mr Boru Halare are said to have visited Latiff’s mother at her house in Kawangware with little success. The mother claimed that she had not heard from her son Latiff for over a month.
The police claim to be waiting for phone records from Safaricom to further aid their investigations.
Latiff is believed to have links to Al Shabaab, and could have eloped with the girl and recruited to the militia.