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It was February 16 at 1 am when security agents breached the homes of Juma Athman, 29, Ali Tengeza, 20, and Hamisi Mwinyi, 17.

Athman and Tengeza lived in Kibundani, Likoni, about 10 kilometres from Kiteje, still in the same constituency, where officers arrested Mwinyi.

On February 22, the families of Athman and Mwinyi discovered their bodies at Coast Provincial General Hospital (CPGH) morgue. They had gunshot entry wounds to the chest and wide exit gashes in the back. Athman’s neck was broken, his face swollen and covered in blood, and one eye gouged out—a sign of torture.

Tengeza is missing.

On February 19, security agents raided another home at 1:25 am. This time, 26-year-old Azizi Mchangamwe was the victim. He lived in Shiakaadabu, Likoni, around the same area where Athman and Tengeza were apprehended. They had no connection. After three days at 3:45 am, security agents released Mchangamwe at Checkpoint, the border between Mombasa and Kwale.

Mchangamwe has no physical wounds.

On February 24, security agents cut metal grills and breached the property of 38-year-old Bakari Mbwana located at Ujamaa, Likoni. It was at 1:55 am. Two white foreigners were among officers who conducted this raid that resulted in Mbwana’s arrest, witnesses have confided to MUHURI.

Mbwana is still missing.

Within eight days of night-time raids, security agents had arrested five people: two turned up dead, two went missing, and one returned.

Night-time raids

These night-time raids took place between 1 am-2 am. It involved more than 30 heavily armed officers, all with body amours. About seven would storm the target’s home. Others provided cover.

Witnesses reported seeing agents with pistols and guns with firearm lasers. The two white foreigners did not brandish guns, a witness told MUHURI. Like other commandos, the foreigners donned jungle uniforms resembling those worn by the Kenyan paramilitary General Service Unit (GSU).

Some agents had their balaclavas on to conceal identities.

The agents confiscated communication gadgets and identification documents from their target’s homes. They took pictures of prisoners and their families.

Saida Omar (on the floor), the wife of the disappeared Bakari Mbwana, said security agents told her they had not found what they were looking for when they raided. Photo: Ernest Cornel.

The agents confiscated communication gadgets and identification documents, and ransacked target’s homes, like this of Bakari Mbwana. Photo: Ernest Cornel.

Local police appeared unaware of these operations. The team that raided came from Nairobi. When commandos arrested Mbwana, they told his wife, Saida Omar, they were taking him to the capital for interrogation.

The presence of white foreigners in the operation that captured Mbwana reinforced revelation by Declassified UK that disclosed US’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and British’s Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) are involved in covert and illegal anti-terror war in Kenya.

A witness said these foreigners were hands-on.

“They picked Mbwana from his house with his hands handcuffed from behind,” neighbour Bakari Hassan told MUHURI.

“They sandwiched and led him to an awaiting saloon car that was unmarked, its windows blackened out.”

Rapid Response Team (RRT), a clandestine special team of the Kenyan paramilitary GSU’s Recce Company, is involved in these night-time raids, an investigation by Declassified UK revealed. CIA set up, equipped, trained, and is guiding RRT on tactical counter-terror operations, the probe showed.

The secretive RRT has been paid and assisted by the CIA to take down terror suspects since 2004. Britain’s MI6 plays a key role in identifying suspects for a ‘kill or capture’ list and finding, tracking, and fixing their location, Declassified UK found out.

RRT has been responsible for the capture of high-value terror suspects, as well as rendition operations, killings, and alleged summary executions.

Families deny terror links

In Likoni, however, the families of those killed, disappeared, or arrested and returned, denied they had criminal records—let alone getting involved in terror-related activities.

Fatuma Hassan, the wife of Athman, told MUHURI that when security agents arrested her husband on February 16, they returned after six days at 2 am. They bundled two men inside one of the vacant rooms at a plot she stays. Agents ordered her to step outside. She heard gunfire.

“Officers told me they were killing two ‘Somalis’ who were attempting a break-in,” Fatuma said.

What Fatuma did not immediately know is that one of the slain men was her husband, Athman. The other was Mwinyi, a 17-year-old. It dawned upon Fatuma when relatives, eight hours later, positively ID’ed the bodies at CGPH morgue. Police had booked the corps as “unidentified persons”. A source within the morgue identified the location where police picked the bodies—and it matched Fatuma’s home.

Neither MUHURI nor the victim’s families could instantly establish the whereabouts of Athman and Mwinyi from the moment they got arrested until their summary execution. A search at police stations within Likoni and Mombasa Island yielded no fruit. Local police could not provide official communication.

But the nature of wounds that Athman had—a broken vertebral segment, swollen face, and gouged out left eye—revealed he and Mwinyi endured torture for a period they were missing. We are yet to establish where the abuse occurred. There are concerns over possible black sites.

Security agents arrested Ali Tengaza on February 16. He is still missing. Photo: courtesy.

Security agents, among them two white foreigners, arrested Bakari Mbwana on February 24. Photo: Courtesy.

Saumu Ismail, the mother of missing Tengeza, said security agents on February 16 banged her door and demanded she open it. It was at 1 am and she was sleeping. But even before she could move an inch, the officers had already knocked it down. The agents, she narrated, said were from Nairobi.

“They ordered us to sleep on the floor then started assaulting us. They were looking for Ali [Tengeza], who was inside the house,” she said. Officers ransacked the house then left with Tengeza.

Saida Omar, the wife of the disappeared Bakari Mbwana, said security agents told her they had not found what they were looking for when they raided their house on February 24 at 1 am. Saida said officers told her they will interrogate Mbwana in Nairobi. The Rapid Response Team (RRT), which we believe is behind this raid, is housed at a secretive base in Ruiru, about 48 kilometres east of Nairobi.

Rapid Response Team (RRT), a clandestine special team of the Kenyan paramilitary GSU’s Recce Company, is involved in these night-time raids, an investigation by Declassified UK revealed. CIA set up, equipped, trained, and is guiding RRT on tactical counter-terror operations, the probe showed. Britain’s MI6 plays a key role in identifying suspects for a ‘kill or capture’ list and finding, tracking, and fixing their location.

Saida has since obtained OB number 24/23/2/21 from Inuka police station where she reported her husband missing. Her three kids, aged between three and 11, witnessed their father’s arrest. They keep asking her why security officers took him away—and when they will release him. Saida lacks a definite response and hopes she will never receive bad news. Most of those forcibly disappeared never return or end up dead.

No due process

Security agents did not subject the five they arrested to due process, MUHURI can confirm. The law requires suspects arraigned within 24 hours of an arrest—but in Likoni’s case, two turned up frozen in a mortuary body cooler, their bodies pierced with bullets; the fate of the missing two is unknown, and one is living to tell the ordeal.

MUHURI rapid response officer, Francis Auma, questioned why the government allowed foreign agents to conduct raids on Kenyan soil, especially targeting the Muslim community.

“Why should foreign intelligence community (CIA and MI6) decide whom to arrest or kill?” he said.

He said even if suspects had criminal records, the law does not allow execution.

“The prosecution must put them through a trial. If guilty, the court will punish them or acquit each if innocent. But we won’t let security forces arrest and execute civilians as they wish,” he said.