Kin of captured doctor pray for his safe return from Somalia
It is a year already, and so much has happened since Dr Leonard Kiiyo Maingi, 42, left home for Somalia.
His son, with whom he had shared the joy of passing the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination, is in Form Two.
Dr Maingi left for Somalia on January 1, 2016 and promised to return. It is not clear if he will.
And every time his mother Christine Nzilani Kiiyo, his wife Eunice and his three sons see military uniforms, they are reminded of the dangers he faces.
Dr Maingi was captured by al- Shabaab fighters on January 15 when they attacked the El-Adde base, killing tens of Kenyan soldiers.
The Kenya Defence Forces has not come out clearly on the number of soldiers who paid the ultimate price since, leaving room for speculation.
Since the attack and the capture of the doctor, all the family has heard about him is that he is being held by the terrorists. Al-Shabaab released a propaganda video of Dr Maingi appealing to President Uhuru Kenyatta to withdraw Kenyan troops from Somalia in exchange of his freedom and that of others.
That was in September — nine months after his capture. When family members saw the videos, which were widely circulated on social media, they were in no doubt that it was Dr Maingi.
“Yes, that is him! That is my son! May God have mercy on him,” Mrs Kiiyo exclaimed and broke down after seeing a frozen picture extracted from the video.
She was shocked at how his son looked since he had grown beards. She said he also looked bigger.
“The last time I spoke with him was the day he left for Somalia. He called while at the airport and asked me to pray for him and his colleagues,” she said.
She later learnt that Dr Maingi, while in Somalia, wrote a message to Eunice asking her to take care of their children.
“We need him and I’m pleading with the government to do everything in its power to save him. I am also pleading with the people who captured him to spare his life,” Mrs Kiiyo said.
In an interview at her home in Vengea Village, Makueni County, Mrs Kiiyo said she prays day and night for her son’s safe return.
Yesterday, she said she had not heard anything from or about him apart from the video posted by his captors.
In the video, Dr Maingi also gave details about his home area.
The family heard about the El-Adde attack from one of Dr Maingi’s brothers who works in Nairobi.
“He told us that al-Shabaab fighters had attacked Kenyan soldiers. We thought he was among the soldiers killed,” Mrs Kiiyo said.
“His wife and my other son went to the mortuary when the bodies landed and they even had DNA tests. He was not among them.”
Later, her son went home and told them that he had received news that Dr Maingi was a prisoner of war.
The doctor, who served at the Ninth Battalion based at Moi Barracks in Eldoret, had previously gone for missions in Somalia and Sudan.
His wife said the children still ask about their father’s whereabouts.
She said her husband called her on January 12, three days before the raid.
“On January 16, just when news of the attack broke, he texted me and told me to All of the finest kamagra Oral Jelly deals are gathered at our store, and you can take advantage of it right now! Buy your medicine for only 5.55 USD and save on your purchase! take care of the children and that he loved us. That was the last thing and time I heard from him,” Eunice said.
Family members had to go through the trauma of attempting to identify their loved ones among the charred and decomposed bodies at Chiromo Mortuary, Nairobi.
Following the experience and coming at a time her child was to join secondary school, Eunice was hospitalised for a month when depression set in.
While in hospital, her sister and brothers-in-law took care of the children and even helped prepare the boy for school.
“We still have hopes of seeing him. We will continue to pray for him day and night and we hope that the government will secure his release,” she said.