ODM leader Raila Odinga has challenged the police and Judiciary to be more proactive in protecting women and children amid growing reports of murder and disappearances in the country, saying the worrying trend was slowly becoming the new normal.
In a statement issued on Monday, Mr Odinga urged the National Police Service (NPS) to reassure Kenyans that it is up to the task of protecting children, girls and women.
“Police must assure Kenyans that an individual will not pluck and kill two, four or five children or girls before the ring is detected and crushed,” the ODM leader said.
The Judiciary, he noted, must also fasten the wheel of justice in the wake of such attacks.
“The Judiciary must also assure Kenyans that justice will come swiftly and fairly where lives have been senselessly lost,” he said, adding that justice was taking too long to come “if it ever does for the victims.”
The delays, he noted, only prolong pain for families and emboldens predators.
“Now more than ever, this country needs assurance from these two public institutions that are critical to ending the madness,” said the former Prime Minister.
Read: Concern as cases of child abduction on the upsurge
“Too many children, girls and women have in recent times suffered gruesome deaths in the hands of people who should be their protectors…Children are being plucked from their playgrounds, picked on the way to or from school and places of worship and from the balconies and doorsteps of their parents’ houses and slaughtered by adults.”
Girls and women, he noted, were being killed in cold blood by supposed lovers, husbands and even parents.
“This turn of events is completely unacceptable…This is not the country we wish for our children, especially our daughters and sisters. Yet slowly but steadily, this brutality is becoming a new normal, just another news item in our country.”
He also passed his condolences to families that have lost loved ones to such crimes.
“My prayers are with families currently hunting for disappeared children. You deserve justice.”
Read: Shantel Nzembi murder: Police dig into key suspect’s criminal history
Spike in disappearances
In the past few months, there number of appeals for missing persons, including children, has increased on social media.
There is also rising concern among parents across the country over the trend as more pictures of minors who have disappeared are shared online.
At least 242 children aged 18 and below were reported missing between January and December 2020, a report by Missing Child Kenya said — 125 girls and 117 boys. Some of them were found and reunited with their families, while others were taken to government shelters. A few were found dead while others are still missing.
The report comes a few weeks after the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) cautioned parents to monitor how their children use social media and the people they interact with.
“Sex traffickers have come up with a new technique of kidnapping targeting teenage schoolgoing girls or those who have just completed their secondary education”.
“The crooks lure the young girls on social media where they access their personal details before enticing them into a trap,” the statement read.
In a breakthrough involving one such criminal, police recently arrested a man who confessed to killing two boys abducted from Shauri Moyo, Nairobi.
20-year-old Masten Milimu Wanjala led police to where decomposing bodies of the two minors, Charles Opindo Bala (13) and Junior Mutuku Musyoka (12) were hidden in Westlands area.
Police believe he may have other victims, and investigators are interrogating the suspect to establish the locations of other children he is believed to have kidnapped and killed.