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Police parade Kenya ‘kidnappers’

By on July 8, 2009

Police in Kenya have paraded 13 suspects accused of involvement in a recent wave of kidnappings for ransoms.

There have been 11 reported abductions in the capital, Nairobi, over past two months – some involving children.
Police hope when photos of the suspects are published, members of the public will come forward with new leads.

A lawyer said it was illegal to publish pictures of suspects, but a BBC reporter says such police parades are standard practice to gather evidence.

“It is an offence to publish a picture of a suspect based on allegations or suspicions. If the suspect gets off, he could sue for libel,” Kenyan criminal lawyer Cliff Ombeta told the BBC.

The BBC’s Anne Waithera in Nairobi says only five of the 13 men paraded are due to be charged in court.

Footage of all the suspects was shown on the evening television news bulletins, she says.

The authorities claim the abductions could be linked to the outlawed Mungiki gang – the East African country’s equivalent of the Mafia.

A teenage boy was rescued on Friday, three days after gunmen took him captive demanding a $13,000 (£8,000) ransom from his father.

Nine other cases reported to the police remain outstanding.

Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said Nairobi residents should not worry unduly as officers were “continuing to rescue those people abducted”.

But our correspondent says his words of assurance did not appear to convince onlookers outside the police station.

“Since the cases of kidnapping came to light, I cannot even send my child to the shops any more. I do not know if she will get there or go missing,” one woman told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme.

The kidnappings have taken place in several suburbs of the capital but not including upmarket areas where security experts say residents can afford better safeguards.


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