Lamu,KENYA: The family of a local administrator in Lamu county is appealing to the government to help them find their son who went missing shortly after a suspected Alshabaab attack at Milihoi area in Lamu on Thursday evening.
Three people were killed by the militants during the attack while others including Public Works PS Mariam El Maawy were taken hostage but later rescued by the KDF.
The PS was shot in the legs,shoulders and on the hands abandoned by the militants on discovering they were being pursued by KDF.
Arif Kassim Athman,21,a trainee pilot is the first born son of Mokowe chief Kassim Athman and had accompanied the PS who is his aunt on her road trip to Witu where she was to meet families displaced due to terrorism in the region.
Their vehicle,a Pajero,was hijacked by over 30 suspected militia before it was torched down.
Athman is feared to have been kidnapped and taken hostage by the militants since he was nowhere to be found when the KDF moved in to rescue the rest.
His father said they had tried reaching him on phone but that his device has been out of reach since the attack took place on Thursday.
“He had accompanied his aunt to Witu when the incident happened.When the KDF rescue team came in,he wasn’t there.No one knows where he is.” Said Kassim.
He said the police were not being straight with him on the matter and all they were telling him was that he should relax and take it easy.
“Police here are telling me to relax.I cant! I don’t understand how I am expected to relax when my son could be in hands of those people.I am appealing to the government to help me find him.His phone is switched off.All I can do I pray but no one knows the agony I am going through.He is my first born child,”said Kassim.
Kassim said together with relatives, they had been to all police stations in Lamu but hadn’t been able to find his son.
Arif,a trainee pilot in Mombasa was looking forward to completing his aviation course in the course of the year.
“He is my hope.I am banking on him to help me and his siblings who are still very young.He is my first child and it breaks my heart that I don’t even know where he is,”he said.
When contacted Linda Boni Operation Director James Seriani dismissed the reports and said no one went missing in Thursday attack.
He also denied reports that six KDF soldiers who rushed to the rescue of the PS were also killed during the ensuing fire exchange.
“Nobody is missing. No KDF officers killed. Only two civilians killed. No security officers killed,” said Seriani in a text.
Meanwhile,an operation to pursue suspected al shabaab militants who killed three people at Milihoi on Thursday has been intensified.
The militants are said to have fled into the Boni forest,which has become their usual hideout.
“Operation is ongoing to pursue the attackers deep in the forest. No one has so far been arrested. More updates will be issued in the course of the day,” said Seriani.