Police trace abducted market leader to house in Athi River
George Kebaso @Morarak
Protests by traders at the Burma market in Nairobi over the abduction of their colleague yesterday forced the police to expedite the search for him and eventual tracing at Athi River where he was being held captive.
Police were forced to hasten the search for the missing man after angry traders took to the streets demanding for answers from relevant authorities of his whereabouts. “Until the matter is resolved the market will remain closed,” one of them warned yesterday.
The traders had paralysed business for the last two days to protest the disappearance of Michael Mungai Njoroge alias Cheupe who they claimed was abducted by unknown people on Monday morning at the entrance of the market.
They blamed a caretaker committee of the market for the disappearance of Mungai who at the time of his disappearance was said to be instrumental in stopping an alleged plan to grab a part of the facility.
“We elected a committee to run this market but now it has turned against us and started colluding with some officials of the County Government of Nairobi in entrenching corruption in the facility,” said a trader only identified as Monica.
The source of the problem according to the traders is an attempt by unknown people allegedly supported by members of the committee to build stalls in an open space within the market, without their consent.
“We suspect the market committee is behind his disappearance. On Sunday, a day when most traders do not operate, some people came here with building materials and attempted to start putting up stalls, Mungai alerted us and we managed to stop the developers.
However, they came back on Monday and tried to continue with the same work, but again we managed to stop them,” said Charles, a trader.
Nyaga claimed Mungai was lured to his abduction by people known. “He was called by people known to him asking that they talk about the issue outside the market.
He entered a white Probox car which was immediately driven off, a few minutes later his mobile phone was switched off,” said Mungai’s mother, Lydia Wairimu.
She said her son was being targeted by the same people who were attempting to illegally put up stalls in the only open space which traders use for various social functions including during emergencies.
“In 2008 when the City Council approved construction of three lines of stalls in one of the remaining spaces, this one was spared and serves as the only place where we hold market meetings; prayers, and fundraisers among others,” she added.
Wairimu said a committee member is on record having threatened his son for his role in fighting corruption in the market.
Mungai’s phone signal was traced to a building under construction where he was found with his hands and legs tied.
Reached for comment, one of the market officials, Peter Odero said he was not in a position to comment on the matter as he was not present at the market when the incident occurred.