He was only two years old, innocent and bubbling with life.
But when they found him on Wednesday after missing since Monday, his body lay lifeless by a riverbank, hacked and carved out in a chilling incident the police say was a ritual killing by Mungiki members.
The head and the torso were found a few metres apart – but with vital body parts missing. The head had been skinned, his private parts, chest and part of the hands were missing.
One of the legs still had a safari boot he wore on the day he went missing. The boy’s severed hands lay on the roadside, maybe to serve as an alert to residents.
And a cloud of sadness fell over Babadogo as the parents and friends of Master Hesbon Joy Otieno came to terms with the incident. His father, Mr Ouma Otieno, was inconsolable.
“I don’t know how I will handle this. I only hear that beheaded people have been found and when I saw the body of Hesbon, I felt like freezing Oh God, help me,” he cried.
Boy was said to have been kidnapped on Monday
He said he did not know the motive or who was behind the heinous crime.
“I am totally lost because I have never wronged anyone.”
The boy’s mother was even more affected – upon being informed of the grim discovery of what remained of her second born, a dumbstruck Mrs Stella Oyugi fell down and fainted.
Shell-shocked villagers carried her away, and left the grim task of gathering the body parts to police, who took them to the City Mortuary.
The discovery came a day after a man was found beheaded and dumped on the railway line in Dagoretti, Nairobi, also with some of his body parts missing.
Just like Master Hesbon, David Ng’ang’a had been missing for days. Police were yesterday still looking for those behind the brutal killing.
The police also announced that they had shot dead 12 suspected robbers in Nairobi on Tuesday night.
The law enforcers insisted that all those killed were dangerous criminals and had defied orders to surrender.
Back in Babadogo, Mr. Otieno said unknown people had kidnapped his son on Monday afternoon. He had been looking for him at the houses of all his relatives and neighbours, and at almost all police stations in the city, but in vain.
He recalled that the housegirl discovered him missing on Monday at about 3pm.
“The boy had been playing outside until about 3pm when the girl decided to bathe him. When she got out to check on him, he was missing. It was then that she called me,” he said.
Family sought police help to trace the boy
The electrician father called his wife, who immediately rushed home to join in the search.
Said he: “We went to Ruaraka and Kariobangi police stations where we reported the matter and left his picture there with hope that he would be found”.
Master Hesbon’s mother also went to other police stations, but in vain. When his remains were discovered on Wednesday, Mr. Otieno was at another police station seeking help in tracing the boy.
“I went looking for him kilometres away without knowing he was lying dead about 500 metres from our house. It is a loss to me and my wife,” the father said.
Mr. Otieno said he was called by villagers and informed that the body parts had been found in a maize plantation.
Ms Jemimah Wambui, of Korogocho slums, said she stumbled on the torso at about 11am while going to fetch vegetables. She saw the head a few metres away.
And in the war against crime, police said they had recovered three AK-47 rifles, three toy pistols and 40 bullets from some of the 12 suspects shot by the force. Among those killed were two women police said were transporting the weapons.
The first incident was on Thika Road near Githurai where police trailed and killed four people, including a woman, they said was headed for a scene of robbery. An AK-47 rifle was recovered during the 8pm incident, according to Kasarani police boss, Mr Paul Ruto.
A few minutes later, five other people were shot dead in Kariokor in what police said was a botched robbery.
Mr. Ruto said the suspects had carjacked a public transport vehicle. Police recovered three toy pistols and eight mobile phones, which they said had been stolen from passengers.
Another team of detectives gunned down two suspects in Jericho, said Buru Buru police boss Mr Migwi Maina. Police in Ruiru also killed a suspected carjacker and recovered two AK-47 rifles with 38 bullets and assorted fake number plates at about 9pm as he tried to escape, said Thika OCPD (Officers Commanding Police Division) Mr Hassan Abdi.
And police warned they would not spare anyone terrorising people, as it emerged that Wednesday’s killings brought to 70 the number of suspected criminals felled by the officers in the last 10 days.
The announcement was made at a meeting of all Officers Commanding Police Divisions in Nairobi and their provincial commander, Mr Njue Njagi, on Tuesday.
But human rights groups questioned the identity of those killed by police on suspicion of being Mungiki adherents.
Mr Steve Musau, the executive coordinator of Release Political Prisoners, said some of those killed had been acquitted of being Mungiki members.
He was speaking at the offices of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights in Nairobi, where the Kenya Human Rights Network presented a petition calling on the commission to set up a public inquiry into the state of insecurity in the country.
The commission’s chairman, Mr Maina Kiai, said Kenyans were living in fear of falling victim to a bullet from either the police or criminals.
And Internal Security minister Mr John Michuki on Wednesday vowed to completely crush the Mungiki sect. He was speaking at State House, Nairobi.
…this post forwarded by a Windsor Humanist (Neil.Hod.) after a July 11, 2007 article by Esther Mumbua & Cyrus Ombati (with additional contributions by Susan Anyangu and Joseph Murimi) in The East African Standard