On a Sunday afternoon Mr Kennedy Bosire left his Kitale home to visit his ailing aunt in Kisii, it never occurred to him that he would end up in captivity.
The 79-year-old ran into trouble as he was abducted, kept in different houses over two weeks, and his family asked to fork out a Sh2 million ransom.
That’s the ordeal Mr Bosire, a relative of Kisii senator Prof Sam Ongeri, endured until his rescue by a team of detectives on Tuesday evening.
On June 6 Mr Bosire had left his home at 5pm, somewhat in a hurry, after news of his ailing aunt at the Kisii hospital. He badly needed to see her.
His wife, Rhoda, even raised an issue that the travel was planned in a hurry, asking him to leave in the morning instead. But Mr Bosire wanted to go.
He took a Sh70 motorbike ride to Maili Saba stage, but he soon realised his journey to Kisii might not be possible as all the cars available only wanted to terminate their trips in Eldoret.
Keen to take the earliest matatu out of the town to Kisii, the old man decided to book a room, instead of going back home, and do the trip back to the matatu stage in the morning.
An attempt to book a room at Skynest Hotel was not possible as a room, going for between Sh2,000 and Sh3,000, was way beyond his plan.
“I had a nice meal and later on requested the attendant to wake me up very early the following morning around 4 am since I had a long journey and wanted to be in Kisii early for the hospital visiting hours,” a scared but happy Mr Bosire told the Nation at his home on Thursday.
At around 3 am, Mr Bosire was already up, prepared himself and left his room.
At the gate, he asked a watchman if he could get a motorbike to town and was told to walk towards the road where he could easily get one. He waited but did not see any boda boda so he decided to walk slowly towards town hoping to get a rider.
“When I reached the All Saints Cathedral area near Skynest hotel, I saw a motorbike approaching from the other side of the road. I asked him if he was heading to town, to which the rider agreed at Sh50,” he said.
However, after connecting the T-junction to the main road towards Kitale town, the rider diverted to a different direction towards Kenya Forest Service.
Worried, Mr Bosire beckoned on the rider to get back to the right route.
The rider said he was dropping the other passengers with him, before heading to town through a short route he knew.
When all the other passengers had alighted, and in the dark of the early morning breeze, two men emerged just as the motorbike was near the Kitale Showground.
They commanded Mr Bosire off the motorbike, and asked him to switch off his mobile phone.
“As I was being ordered, one of them covered my head with a sack. That is when I realised that my life was in danger,” he recalled.
They then jumped in the motorbike sandwiching him.
One was holding him from behind as the other holding the sack covered on his head as the rider took charge to an unknown location.
On arrival at the house that became his home for a few days, Mr Bosire was thrown into the room until 7pm when he was given food, his first meal that day.
Even though he should have been hungry, a confused Mr Bosire refused to eat.
He was woken up late in the night by someone who placed a knife close to his neck asking him why he had not eaten.
“I was so scared the only words that came from my mouth was please allow me to eat the following day,” he narrated.
The following morning, unsure what was happening to him, Mr Bosire attempted suicide.
“I was so scared that I wanted to take my own life. I tried to look for a place but the ceiling was too low, it could not tie my shirt and allow me space to hang. But then I heard a sharp knock at the door that forced me to abandon the idea,” he explained.
Unknown to him, the kidnappers had contacted his wife, Rhoda, and asked her to fork out Sh2 million for his release.
Sh2 million ransom
She had been given seven days to raise the money.
When he refused to eat, the kidnappers called the wife in his presence, demanding that Ms Bosire ask her husband to eat.
“I pleaded with him to obey the instructions and not to give up. I know my husband and he listens to me,” Ms Rhoda Bosire recounted.
Meanwhile, the desperate search for the Sh2 million ransom had begun.
Ms Bosire had told the kidnappers to allow her to sell a piece of her land, which she pleaded with them, takes time.
But while she sought for a buyer, Ms Bosire took the step to inform the police of the events, providing key details like the kidnappers’ phone numbers.
A team of detectives from Special Service Unit and Crime Research and Intelligence Bureau, supported by investigators based in Kitale, was immediately mobilised to track down the kidnappers.
Ms Bosire was tasked with keeping them engaged, by updating them that the land buyer was being sought.
“The victim is brother in law to senator of Kisii Sam Ongeri and that’s why the kidnappers were asking Sh2 m ransom. We believe they know the family very well and wanted to get easy money,” said County Criminal Investigations Officer Francis Kihara.
At some point, when the seven-day deadline ended on Monday night, the kidnappers threatened to take her husband to Tanzania to “sell him there.”
Scared, Ms Bosire promised to send a down payment to save her husband. But she did not get to do it.
Under the cover of darkness, detectives, who had been pinpointing the phone signal, swooped in, raiding a home at Maili Saba area on the Eldoret-Kitale highway.
“Following suspected abduction report last Thursday of one namely Kennedy Bosire Nyagwari we managed to raid the house of one Jackson Atei Nyaundi at around 9 pm situated at Mailisaba in Kiminini sub-county who escaped through his homestead fence,” said Mr Kihara, the county top sleuth.
Ms Grace Kerubo Nyaundi, wife of the escapee Jackson Nyaundi, Richard Okali Matunda, said to have been tasked to guard and feed Mr Borise, and Samuel Atuya, were arrested by the police in the operation.
A phone belonging to abductor and a motorbike registration number KMEU 201 B, a blue Honda, used by the suspects to ferry the victim and a gunny sack used to blindfold the old man were also recovered.
An assortment of suspected fake money of Sh1,000 denominations, totaling approximately Sh4 million were recovered, the police said.
Detectives are currently pursuing a third suspect identified as Jackson Nyakundi Atei.