By WAMBUI NDONGA
NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 5 – On August 1, 2013, two Kenyans made the headlines as they were finally reunited with their families after 18 months in the hands of Al Shabaab captors.
Journalists jostled for space, trying to get the best angle and perhaps a glimpse of Mule Yesse and Fredrick Wainaina.
But as the camera lenses focused on the two Kenyans, their families and their ordeal, four other Kenyans and their families went unnoticed.
Evans Mutoro is one of them.
“My son was captured before Mule and Wainaina and I have not heard anything concerning his whereabouts. If he is still alive, I pray that God keeps him safe,” Mutoro’s father told Capital FM News.
“And I just want to ask the government to help us negotiate for his return and that of other Kenyans who are still in Somalia.”
Mutoro was kidnapped alongside Jonathan Kangogo in Wajir, two years ago, as they were taking supplies to their Kenya Defence Forces colleagues.
Their vehicle is said to have come under a hail of gunfire on July 23, 2011 and when the fire-fight ceased, they were captured.
They have been missing since.
“I got a call from the Department of Defence and they wanted to know who should receive the benefits owed to him. They also told me that he was safe but I just want to see him again,” pleads Mutoro’s father.
Mutoro who is now 31 years old, has already marked two of his birthdays in captivity.
There has been no word of fate since.
My son was captured before Mule and Wainaina and I have not heard anything concerning his whereabouts. If he is still alive, I pray that God keeps him safe, Mutoro’s father told Capital FM News.
If he doesn’t come back in the next five years, he will be declared dead.
“The Department of Defence has already told me that if he goes missing for seven years he will be declared dead because it will be impossible to get him back,” added Mutoro’s dad.
The agony of these families is unfathomable.
When Mule was reunited with his family, he made a heartfelt plea to the Al Shabaab, asking them to release the other Kenyans.
Freeing two and keeping the other four hostages is not enough.
Mule pleads because he certainly understands the desperation of families whose kin are being held hostage in the war-torn country.