By PETER MWITA
The government on Wednesday raided an orphanage in Likoni Mombasa and rescued 29 children that were being held hostage.
Hence ordered for an immediate closure of the facility to pave way for a thorough probe.
The multi-agency team stormed Hope for Hope orphanage at Ujamaa area following last month’s incident where one of the orphans was murdered under unclear circumstances.
The government also wants to establish whether the center is also linked to human trafficking, child and drug abuse among other illegalities.
Mombasa County Children’s department director Philip Nzenge who led the morning crackdown says the center has been operating contrary to the law.
Nzenge revealed that the center was initially registered as a community based organization, CBO, in 2015.
“I am happy to announce the closure of this center that has been operating and holding the children illegally. This has forced us as a department to take a bold step and rescue the innocent children,” said he.
The childrens officer points that 17 of the 29 children are girls and 12 are boys who were residing in the center, with majority coming from within Shikaadabu area.
Parents were ordered to take their children back to their homes.
The director further admitted that he was aware of the recent murder case that happened at the center but said the matter was under investigation.
“This is first step we have taken, from here. Our trained officers will interrogate the children one after the other,” the agitated official warned.
Meanwhile, Area assistant county commissioner Joyfillah Wambua said the District Criminal Investigator (DCI) was also probing into how the CBO was turned into an orphanage without due diligence process.
She expressed disbelief on the incident and terming it an illegality.
The official also warned parents forfeiting their parental obligations that they risk facing the law.
“The government has put in place measures to ensure that widows, orphans and the elderly receive monthly stipend in order to cushion them from the pangs of COVID-19,” she said.
Josphat Muiruri, aged 25 was allegedly beaten in the orphanage before being dumped outside the premises where a Good Samaritan picked him while unconscious.
The victim died minutes later before he was taken for medication.
He had sustained multiple injuries from the beatings on his limbs, abdomen and his back.
The DCI officials will now have the ball to rearrest the suspected director who was adversely mentioned in the murder.
Reginald Odhiambo, the director of the orphanage was previously arrested but released on bond.
The family also has dismissed the police alleged postmortem that their kin died of lung failure and that he was suffering from tuberculosis.
It also alleges that the deceased had no medical history.