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Sauda Omari has sought a court intervention to secure her husband’s release from the custody of security agents.

She testified in a habeas corpus case on March 4, 2022, at Mombasa High Court.

Security agents abducted Bakari Mwanyota Mbwana, Omari’s husband, on February 23, 2021, at 1 am from their Likoni home, the wife said.

MUHURI documented the incident and is a co-petitioner with Omari, who has sued the Inspector-General of the National Police Service and Attorney-General.

Omari told Judge John Mativo: “Help me to find justice. I am facing hardships in life. My kids are still young.”

Omari is a mother of five—the oldest aged 22, youngest, four. Mbwana was their sole breadwinner. Now, Omari sells eateries to feed her kids. The proceeds hardly clear her bills.

Security agents, Omari said, told her they were looking for “something”.

“They told me they did not find anything,” Omari said.

The agents told Omari they were taking Mbwana to Nairobi for interrogation.

This writer, a witness in the case, said he recorded the aftermath of Mbwana’s abduction. He found the scene consistent with a security operation, akin to several he documented before.

He told the court the home was ransacked, identification documents and communications gadgets confiscated, and nothing was stolen.

“In my observation, this was a search mission, not a robbery mission,” he said.

“We held a press conference and urged security agents involved in this operation to release Mbwana—and if he was facing a criminal charge, he should be produced before a competent court of law in Kenya,” this writer told the Judge.

Saida Omari holds a mugshot of her husband, Bakari Mwanyota Mbwana, who was abducted by security agents on February 23, 2021, in Likoni, Mombasa. Photo: Ernest Cornel.

Ernest Cornel found the scene consistent with a security operation, akin to several he documented before. Photo: MUHURI.

Court records show two white foreigners helped local forces abduct Mbwana. Their identities remain unknown.

A year has elapsed, and Omari does not know her husband’s whereabouts. She turned to court as her last resort.

On November 18, 2021, MUHURI, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the Global Justice Clinic listed Mbwana in their two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests

They want to obtain transparency about the United States government’s role in training, funding and supporting Kenyan police and paramilitary forces involved in serious human rights abuses against Muslim communities. 

The requests to the CIA, FBI, Department of Defense, Department of State, and Office of the Director of National Intelligence follow MUHURI’s work representing the families of victims who were forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed, as well as investigative reporting uncovering U.S. support for abusive police and paramilitary forces under the guise of “sustainable counterterrorism.”

The hearing continues May 20, 2022.