By Abdimalik Hajir, Nation.
A family in Garissa is in agony after their kin, a prominent religious leader and who is also an Islamic teacher was allegedly taken away by security officers on Monday.
Speaking to journalists, the family of Sheikh Abdullahi Khalif told of their anguish and pain since his “arrest” by three people armed with pistols and who identified themselves as security officers.
The sheikh was picked from Umul-Qura, an Islamic religious institution (Dugsi) in Garissa Town which he runs.
Mr Khalif who has four wives and 19 children was allegedly accosted by the officers in plain clothes while he was teaching at the institution on Monday at around 10am before he was forcibly put into a Toyota Land Cruiser vehicle and driven away to an unknown destination.
“They first came to the Dugsi then demanded for his national identity card before taking his mobile phone from him. He tried to resist to be taken since the officers never identified themselves.
“They grabbed him and put him into the waiting Land Cruiser in full glare of his students,” said Abdi Khalif Abdullahi, his eldest son.
He was speaking to journalists at their home in Bula Salaam in Garissa.
‘OFFICERS’ BRANDISHED PISTOLS
He added “While they were struggling to put him into the car his youngest daughter who was among learns at the institution together with other students tried to shield him from being taken but the “officers” brandished pistols and threatened to shot at them before speeding with him.”
The son who finished Form Four last year said their father was the only breadwinner for the extended family.
He said they were unable to reach the cleric by phone as calls to his number went unanswered on Monday and Tuesday before the phone was apparently switched off.
Relatives and neighbours who spoke to journalists appealed to the government to have him released or produced in court.
“We appeal to President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene and help trace the cleric because the family is suffering and they want to know where he is. They are also concerned about his safety,” said Jamila Jelle, a sister of the missing cleric.
Human right activist and coordinator Northern Forum for Democracy Mr Khalif Abdi claimed more than 30 people in Garissa Town are missing after they were allegedly arrested by security officers under unexplained circumstance.