A widowed mother of four in Kirigu village, Nairobi County is calling out for his son John Kamotho to come back home from Somalia after he disappeared in 2015. Mary Wairimu was speaking in a local radio station narrating her ordeal in trying to find her son.
John Kamotho is the firstborn in a family of four; his widowed mother was doing odd jobs to feed them since the death of her husband in 2010. This family hails from Kirigu village in Dagoretti South, Nairobi. Before his disappearance, Kamotho used to work in Dagoretti slaughterhouse, which he started immediately after finishing form 4 in Mutui-ini High School in 2011. He used to take care of his mother and their school-going siblings.
One day, he came home very excited after he was promised a better paying job in one of the Gulf countries. His mother supported the idea and thanked God for the new opening for him and their family. Surprisingly, he did not need a passport or flight money as everything was to be catered for by the sponsor. On the day of departure, family prayers were conducted and they were advised to keep it a secret because many people would not be happy for new openings for them. Kamotho left with only a small bag inside it a few clothes. His mother would not hear from him again until two years later.
His mother had tried to knock to every government office trying to seek help but the information she had regarding his son was too minimal to help in finding him. She had lost all hope but she continued to pray that her son would one day come back. One night after supper, she had a call from a strange number but a voice she clearly recognized, it was Kamotho.
Speaking to a local radio station, Mrs. Wairimu said that her instincts always told her that her son was alive. Kamotho called amid tears narrating how he was duped and has been in Somalia all along. “He told me they were drugged and found themselves in a militia camp in what he would later realize was in Somalia. They were forced to do dirty jobs of dumping dead bodies before combat training” her mother said. The call was disengaged before they could talk enough, it is established that he had stolen a phone to seek help from his mother. “ ‘Nisaidie tafadhali (Help me please),’ was the last thing he said. He sounded like a man in great distress” Mrs. Wairimu told the radio.
Kamotho’s case is one of many where several young people were duped into joining a terrorist group and they are now languishing inside Alshabaab camps in Somalia. Speaking in a baraza, the area chief of Kirigu Sub-location Mr. Phillip Muthige pointed out Kamotho’s case as an example of bad community policing. “People have always been advised to report about any suspicious ‘opportunity’ instead of thinking you have hit a ‘jackpot’ only to come back crying to the government for help,” he said. He assured Mrs. Wairimu of governments support in finding her son and many others in Somalia.