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Unsolved mystery: Indian court demands answers for vanished nationals in Kenya

The case of two Indian nationals who went missing while they were in the country was mentioned in an Indian Court this week.

In the case, the New Delhi High Court, based in India, issued orders that the government of the Asian country should provide a detailed report on what transpired leading to the disappearance of the two Indian nationals identified as Zulfiqar Ahmad Khan and Zaid Sami Kidwai. The duo disappeared alongside their taxi driver, identified as Mr Nicodemus Mwania.

The three were last seen alive at a popular joint along Parklands Road, Westlands Sub-County. They left the joint while driving a Toyota Fielder with registration number KCG 335E.

The Delhi High Court sought the responses of the Ministries of External Affairs and Home Affairs following a plea made by Ms. Anis Fatima Zacharia, who is the sister of Mr Zulfiqar Ahmad Khan.

Issuing the orders, Justice Subramonium Prasad asked that the petition be filed with the status report within the next two weeks.

The matter is scheduled to commence at the Delhi High Court in August.

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In the petition, Ms. Fatima claimed that her brother was detained in Kenya just days before the country’s general elections in 2022 before he went missing.

“The petitioner and their family have no information about their whereabouts, whether they are alive or not, and whether they are in custody,” the petition, filed through advocates Nishant Singh and Sagrika Tanwar, said.

She further claimed that the family had reached out to the Indian Embassy in Nairobi on several occasions and had filed a habeas corpus petition in the Kenyan High Court, but little action was taken to find the missing individuals.

The plea sought directions to the Indian authorities to take cognizance of the complaints and representations and to inquire into the matter expeditiously and efficiently.

It also sought direction from the authorities to use all possible channels to coordinate with Kenyan authorities to ascertain the whereabouts of the petitioner’s brother.

Mr Khan, a media personality, went missing alongside his friend, identified as Zaid Sami Kidwai, and a taxi driver known as Mr Nicodemus Mwania while they were driving along Mombasa Road.

Interestingly, the family of Mr Mwania has never accepted any media interviews with a close family member, who spoke to Nairobi News in confidence, saying that they fear something bad might happen to them.

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Mr Khan worked with several top media houses in India, including Balaji Telefilms, where he served as the Chief Operating Officer (COO). Other media houses he worked for include Eros, Star TV India, and Warner Brothers.

The media personality traveled to Kenya on a tourist visa and arrived on June 24, 2022. He went missing in July 2022.

The Nairobi News understands they were scheduled to leave the country on August 20, 2022.

Reports indicate that he was scheduled to work alongside President Dr. William Ruto’s media team ahead of the last elections when he served as the Deputy President in the government led by former Head of State Uhuru Kenyatta.

In the petition, Ms. Fatima accused the Kenyan police officers of unlawfully and arbitrarily intercepting the vehicle they were driving in.

As a result, President Dr. Ruto, in October 2022, just a month after being declared the Head of State, ordered a crackdown on a police squad known as the Special Service Unit (SSU).

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs used to issue an interview on a weekly basis on the same subject.

Immediately after the trio went missing, Ms. Ambreen Kidwai, the wife of Mr Kidwai, who was waiting for them at a hotel located along Mombasa Road where they were staying, made the decision to report the matter at Parklands Police Station, but she was turned away.

The officers at the station on July 23, 2022, told her that she could only make a report of a missing person after 48 hours had elapsed.

The matter is in court, with eight members of the disbanded Special Service Unit (SSU) answering to charges of their disappearance.

The eight are; Joseph Mwenda Mbaya, David Chepcheng Kipsoi, Stephen Luseno Matunda, Paul Njogu Muriithi, Simon Muhuga Gikonyo, Peter Muthee Gachiku, John Mwangi Kamau, and Joseph Kamau Mbugua, and they were released by the court on a Sh500,000 personal bond.

Delivering the ruling on the release, Kahawa Law Courts Chief Magistrate Diana Mochache directed the officers not to interfere with witnesses and to make themselves available to investigators whenever needed; failure to do so would result in the cancellation of their bond terms.

During the matter hearing, the court was informed that the three might have been murdered.

An affidavit produced in court by the investigating officer, Mr Michael Kirui, did not provide details of the motive behind the alleged murder of the trio.

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