Just who was this man, the slain Mohamud Bashir Mohamed, and who so badly wanted him dead?
Only about eight months ago, on October 22, the dual Somali-US citizen accompanied President Uhuru Kenyatta as he inspected the Uhuru Business Park which his engineering company, Infinity Development, was constructing.
Fast forward to mid this month, Bashir appears to have had such an irreconcilable falling-out with someone, who set out to kill him in the most gruesome manner.
The bizarre circumstances surrounding his abduction, torture and killing point to a man who was under the radar of some covert security squad, or some rogue criminals who wanted him dead at all costs.
Links to underworld
Security officials are silent on whether the 35-year old engineer was on their radar for possible links to the underworld of crime and terror. The US embassy in Nairobi has been rather meek in its response to Bashir’s murder and subsequent disappearance, quite uncharacteristic of the world’s superpower when the life or safety of its citizen is endangered anywhere in the world.
Nairobi Regional Police Commander Augustine Nthumbi says that investigations into Bashir’s disappearance and now murder are still ongoing, but they are yet to yield much.
“There have been no developments on the ongoing investigations in Nairobi,” said Mr Nthumbi Sunday.
Bashir’s body was on Saturday positively identified by his kin at the Kerugoya Level Five Hospital mortuary where it had been booked as an unidentified male after it was discovered floating in River Nyamindi on May 16.
After viewing his body in Nairobi, his lawyers said it bore scars of blunt trauma on the face and back of his head.
“His neck also appeared to have been snapped and there are scars on his chest which makes it look like he had been dragged. There are no bullet wounds,” they said.
The body was discovered just before Bashir’s lawyers could file a habeas corpus application, seeking to have the court compel security agencies to reveal if he was being held by the State.
“We had prepared the application and were ready to file it on Friday but for some reason the court closed early and we missed the opportunity. Then on Saturday, we received the sad news,” said lawyer Charles Madowo.
A look at Bashir’s business profile paints the picture of a highly connected and successful businessman courtesy of Infinity Development, a property development company that he co-owns with partners in Kenya that has interests in Nairobi, Mogadishu and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Bashir is said to have acquired the company in the year 2000 when it was known as Horn Construction Company. He then legally changed its name to Infinity Development, whose successful projects include the construction of the Sh600m Uhuru Business Park in Kisumu that he and President Kenyatta inspected in person on October 22 last year ahead of its opening.
If he was on the security agencies’ radar for involvement in the criminal underworld, would they have allowed him to get that close to the President? Would a company associated with him have benefitted from such a mega, World Bank funded project? Or just what happened between October last year and mid this month?
Other projects that have been linked to his company include construction of the 21-storeyed Huru Towers in Westlands, West Riverside Towers amongst other luxurious residential villas and business complexes in Nairobi.
Somali presidential palace
In Somalia, Bashir had dealings with senior government officials and his company also constructed the famous Somali presidential palace, known as Villa Somalia and the Ministry of Health headquarters in Mogadishu.
As time discloses what made him a target, Kenyans have expressed shock at the news of his death in what is now emerging as a trend of increased cases of persons disappearing only to be found dead and dumped in rivers in Central Kenya.
On Thursday last week, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Noor Gabow disclosed to the National Assembly Security Committee — in response to a petition by the family of Mr Bashir Mohammed — that the DCI’s homicide unit was probing the matter.
“Mr Gabow says the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) is investigating the matter as a missing person case and arson since a car was burnt and they are yet to establish if he is dead,” a member of the committee told the Nation.
Bashir’s lawyers said a post-mortem on his body would be conducted before his burial, tentatively planned for today (Monday).
When contacted for comment, the US Embassy in Nairobi, through its spokesperson, had last week said it was aware of reports of an American citizen missing in Nairobi.
“The welfare and safety of US citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State. We stand ready to provide appropriate assistance to US citizens in need, and to their families. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment,” it said in a statement.
Mr Bashir had been living with his wife in Nairobi’s Lavington area.