Beatrice Anjili, a fishmonger and sole breadwinner breaks down as soon as she sees her son lying unconscious on the hospital bed that looks more like a deathbed. She is devastated and regretful as she wonders how her first born son Michael Ambiyo got himself in the hands of the Al Shabaab.
It was a typical school opening day, Ms. Anjili remembers sending off her son on the first Mbukinya bus to Kakamega, where he had begun pursuing Civil engineering in a town campus. She would wave him goodbye and rush to the market to fetch fish for her flourishing business and the only source of income for the family.
What the mother of four did not know is that her son had other plans other than heading to school. Already in a clique of five, the schoolmates would alight on the first stop the bus made, and this was Nakuru County.
The young men are in the company of a man of German origin, Hermann Karl who they had all communicated with on FaceBook where they had been promised school sponsorship and a job. Karl was however economical with details on Facebook and these young ones were curious but mostly excited.
All they thought of was changing their lives and those of their families; this would mean a lot especially for Ambiyo whose mother was struggling to pay for his higher learning education as well as his two young siblings who had just been enrolled in high school.
The white man was saving grace and they were all determined to hold on to this opportunity. Ambiyo remembers meeting two other men of Kenyan and Somali origin and it is then that they would set off to the land of honey and milk, at least according to their thinking.
The five young adults between the age of 18 and 20 would be driven to an airstrip where they had been expected and were courteously informed about the trip to Wajir with a disclaimer that Mr. Karl, the only contact they knew would be left behind.
After landing in Wajir, transport was organised from the town and this is when the young men were told to hand over all their devices as it was the job’s requirement. Ambiyo says what would follow was a long cold night through vast land and thickets.
“We were accompanied to rusty huts after a long walk in the windy semi-arid area where we would spend the night. The two men had AK 47 guns and any resistance was met with a hard push using the machine butt.”That was the last thing Ambiyo would recall.
“Run…run…what is wrong with you?” Ambiyo heard a deep voice from the horizon, he woke up to commotion and noises like those from a battlefield. He could not recognise where he was and neither did he see his friends around him. He was immediately frog matched by two well-built men to a tattered tent where he was dropped in front of masked men holding guns. He recognised two of his friends who had been tied in a corner and seemingly injured.
“Listen, this is the job you were asking for, we expect you to begin immediately.” A voice behind the mask commanded… “Your two friends are dead, for disobeying the emir and this other two have been dealt with” Another voice announced.