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Crime in Kenya – A True Story

British High Commission warns in their website that there have been a number of violent attacks and murders of non-indigenous residents in recent years. Muggings and armed attacks by gangs can occur at any time. These attacks involved tourists and residents and a number resulted in injury. Remote areas or border regions could also be targets of attacks or kidnappings. Incidents of armed car-hijackings are more prevalent in Nairobi and Mombasa but can occur in any area of the country.

 

American Embassy had mentioned in their website that Crime in Kenya is rated critical and will probably continue to worsen for the foreseeable future. Street crime is a serious problem and is more acute in larger cities, such as Nairobi. Most street crime involves multiple assailants and almost all criminal incidents involve some type of weapon.

 

Carjacking is a major problem; Nairobi averages 15-20 successful thefts a day. All carjackings involve firearms and resistance is met with extreme violence. Home invasions are also quite common and usually involve large groups of armed intruders.

 

One Indian family recently has been through such a terrifying ordeal. This is the true story... Editor

 

Crime in Kenya

 

An Indian Family’s ordeal at the hands of carjackers

After a week of heavy storms in Northern Kenya, one Indian family of four, parents and their two teenaged sons decided to take a holiday by car to Rift Valley. It was a Sunday afternoon last year. The father slid into the drivers seat as the boys clambered into the back of the car.

Soon they were on the main highway, cruising past the high city buildings. After about an hour of travelling, the car turned onto a lonely road, surrounded by woodlands. It would take them an hour and half on this lonely stretch before they would reach the hotel they were booked into. Every one’s spirits were high and there was laughter in the car.

Suddenly there was a screech of tyres and the car skidded to a stop. For a moment there was a stunned silence then all of a sudden the boys started asking “What happened dad?”. The father just pointed in front. There, just feet away was a beat up old pick up van, which had appeared from nowhere and stopped in the middle of the road.

Before anyone had time to realise what had been happening, two men jumped out of the van and advanced towards them. One of the men was pointing a gun at them. He ordered the family to get out of the car and indicated them to move towards the wooded area. They did as they were told. One of the other man got into their car and parked on the side of the road. He then did the same with their van.

Summoning up some courage, the father pleaded with their hijacker to let them go, telling him to take whatever he wanted. But he just laughed and said he did not want anything, just wanted to see them dead! The hijackers not only wanted to rob but were in fact were getting ready to kill them.

 

Before he could say anything more they heard the sound of a car approaching. They were in plain view from the road. The man with the  gun quickly pushed everyone further into the woods, as another henchman joined them.

The family was now in grave danger as their chances of being rescued were next to none. They could hear the car approaching but there was no hope as they could not be seen now. The youngest son looked at the two men holding them hostage. Everyone were standing still waiting for the car to pass. The son decided to take a chance to make his move. He knew it would cost him his life but  was willing to take that chance to save his family.

He made a sudden dash for the road and stood directly in front of the on
coming car. The car swerved sharply and sped off. By then the hijackers had caught up with the boy and hit him a sharp blow on his head and led him back, furious and threatening him. Expecting the worst, the family huddled close together, as the hijackers marched them further into the woods.

Then without a warning four men each holding a gun, appeared from nowhere and surrounded the hijackers. One of them ordered the thugs to surrender after saying they were out numbered. Reluctantly the hijacker put his gun down as they were seized and handcuffed.

The family just watched in amazement, still unable to believe what had just happened. Then one of the four men came forward and introduced himself to the family that he was a senior Police Inspector. He said he and his officers had been driving on the side of the road. They had become suspicious and when suddenly the younger son had stepped in front of their car, they had been sure that something was wrong and had stopped a bit further and pounced on the hijackers.

 

A very lucky escape indeed for the family!!

IN HIS SHADOW                          
Mital Pattni - Nakuru. Kenya
                                                    
“Tea or coffee madam?” The airhostess was smiling at her as she stopped the trolley besides her. “None, just orange juice please, with ice.” Adory gave her a tired smile as she unbuckled her seat belt and leaned back trying to find a comfortable position. The airhostess placed the juice in front of her and moved to the seats in front of her.

Adory took a sip and tried to force her mind away from the course it was taking, the past and what she was trying to leave behind. “Forget about it!” she told herself sternly, but it wasn’t easy. “Who are you kidding!” she chided herself. “It will take ages to forget the past Adory Williams!” She took a deep breath as suddenly an overwhelming urge to cry seized her. A tear ran down her cheek, unchecked.

“Want to talk about it?” her eyes flew open and she found herself staring into the most amazing blue eyes she had ever seen. For a moment she sat completely still, mesmerized by them then turned away quickly, wiping the tear away as he spoke again. “It helps sometimes, especially if the listener is a complete stranger. Like me” he smiled, thinking to himself that he had never seen such sad eyes before. He surprised himself by wishing that he could take her in his arms, hold her tight and tell her that everything would be all right.

Adory dared to look at him again and once more his eyes took her breath away. She gave him a watery smile and said, “Thanks for the offer, but I’m fine. No serious, I’m fine!” she repeated as he gave her a disbelieving look.

“Well at least let me tell you something” he heard himself say. He wondered what his colleagues would think of him right now if they saw him! They would definitely ask him whether he was feeling ok! He was known as the “tight lipped man” for he rarely talked especially to his women colleagues and kept mostly to himself! But something about this woman made him want to know more about her. “No matter how bad it looks right now with time its pain will diminish and you’ll be able to look back and it wont hurt so much then!”

“Now they’ll be sure there’s something very wrong with me!!” he mused. He was Nick Campbell, senior FBI agent and what he was saying dint sound like him at all!

“I wish I could believe that, but sometimes that’s not true!” This time she said it with so much sorrow that he couldn’t stop himself from giving her hand a squeeze. “Listen I know………” suddenly there was a loud crash and somebody screamed.

Nick stood up all his senses on alert and turned to look towards from where the noise had come. What he saw chilled him. Standing there, not 10 feet away, was a masked man holding a steward with a gun pointed on her head. HIJACK! All his senses screamed.

“SIT DOWN!” the man waved the gun at him and screamed frantically. Nick slid back into his seat slowly. The man slowly moved forward, towards the center of the plane.

“No one moves. No one gets hurt,” he tightened his arm around the airhostess’s neck to prove his point and she winced in pain.
Suddenly the intercom crackled to life and the captain’s voice was heard over it. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain Joe Wilkinson. I have a special announcement to make. We have a situation in our hands and will be re-routing to San Francisco. Please remain calm and do not do anything hasty. Please….”

“That’s enough!” another voice interrupted and the intercom was switched off. There was a sob and the sound of a woman crying was heard at the back of the plane.

The masked man turned towards where the crying was heard and shouted, “SHUT UP! We don’t want violence but that does NOT mean we hesitate at it! No crying, no moving AND NO ONE TO ACT SMART! We wont think twice about killing anyone”, and as if to show it he fired a shot into the luggage compartment overhead.

Nick sat transfixed, but his mind was racing. He didn’t know how many there were or what arms the others had but he knew he had to do something.

“There’s one in the cockpit with the pilot”, he decided having heard a man cutting off the captain on the speaker. “May be more than one”, he decided.
He turned his head ever so slowly to look at the woman sitting next to him.
What he saw there surprised him. Instead of fear on her face as he had expected, he saw the face of a woman who looked calm and composed. In place of terror he saw indifference, which scared him.

Adory felt the eyes of Nick and turned to look at him and smiled. “What you wished for came true.” Her thoughts went back to two days before when she had wished something to happen. Brads words came flooding back to her.

“You are good for nothing! NOTHING!” He had been drunk that night and it had all flowed out. “Why did I ever marry you? You good for nothing!” It had been the lowest point in her life. She had never felt so worthless before.

They had been married for five years and life had seemed to be a bed of roses. Till the movie he directed became an instant hit. It had been his first hit. All of a sudden they were in the limelight, going to the most prestigious parties in town and hosting many of their own. She had always been shy and did not like the spotlight focused on her all of a sudden. She had preferred it when she had been in his shadows when he was a struggling director. All these parties did not mean much to her, but it meant a lot to him.

Her simplicity was what had attracted her to him in the first place. She had taken an active interest in his work and even helped him sometimes but had always remained in his shadows, the way she liked and he hadn’t minded it then. Then the movie had happened and he had been swept away by its success.
He wanted her dressed in the best gowns, wear expensive jewels and act like a “glamour girl” like the other industry women. She had played along just to please him at first, no matter how much she hated it but she never got used it. Then the drinking began and she started hearing and reading about him and other women in the tabloids. At first she ignored it but all came crushing down on the fateful night.
They were celebrating hundred days of the movie’s success, and she had walked in on him and the leading lady of the movie. He had been drunk and slapped her. “You don’t fit into my life anymore! Good for nothing!”

Adory had lost all the confidence in herself then and had wondered if what Brad had said was true. She had been too emotionally dependant on him and found it hard to be alone after she left him. She had wished constantly that something would happen and she would die so she wouldn’t have to go through the hurt. Her sister had come to her rescue and invited her to stay with for a while in Florida. And now something really was happening to her. She was on a plane that was being hijacked.

She felt a nudge at her foot and was riveted back to the present. Nick was gently pushing her foot and looking straight ahead at the seat infront of him. Adory could hear the hijacker behind them saying something to the airhostess as she poked him back with her foot.

Nick knew he was taking a very big risk and putting the woman’s and all the others life in danger but if he was able to carry out his plan then they would all be saved. But he also knew that if he failed then he would be responsible for whatever the hijackers would do next. He was apprehensive of what he was about to do but he knew he had to do it. It was a small charter plane with only one passenger cabin and he knew there was only one hijacker in their cabin. Nick could only make a guess about the ones in the cockpit with the pilot. “There can’t be more than two,” he had decided quickly.

He looked at Adory and whispered from the corner of his mouth “wail.” At first she didn’t hear it and just stared at him. “Wail!” he repeated silently praying that she would understand and help him. Adory sat stunned. He was telling her to wail. Why? Was he mad? She looked at him in the eyes and suddenly realized why. He was planning to tackle the hijacker! She looked at him wildly. How was he planning to do it? And why was he asking her to wail? Did that mean he was asking her to help? She felt terror go through her.

Nick saw the terror in her eyes and lifted his jacket flap. Adory saw the FBI badge pinned to the inside of his jacket. “Trust Me,” he murmured. “Wail.”

Adory’s mind was racing. A million thoughts passed through her mind. She was terrified of what Nick was asking her to do. Then Brad’s words flashed in her mind, “God for nothing!” and something clicked inside her. She knew she had to help the man sitting next to her to save the others; she had to do it to prove it to herself that she was worth something! She touched Nick’s arm and nodded gently. Some how she trusted him and though she didn’t know what his plan was, she would do what he was asking.

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, then let out a small cry. Nick tensed up and hoped his plan would work. His muscles were worked up and he could feel the sweat at the back of his neck. For what seemed like an eternity nothing seemed to happen and he wondered if it wouldn’t happen then he heard him coming. The hijacker was coming! Just as he had hoped he would.
Nick sat up straighter and waited. “Who was that?” their captor shouted.

Nick held his breath and just as the masked man approached their seat, Nick suddenly put his foot forward and the hijacker fell with a thud. Before he realised what was happening, Nick was on top of him and punched him hard in the face. The man was stunned for a moment and Nick took full advantage of this. He wrenched the gun out of the man’s hand and the hit the hijacker with its butt on the head, which left him unconscious.

Nick stood up slowly and looked around. All the eyes on the plane were on him. No one said a word and he held a finger to his lips indicating silence. The danger wasn’t over yet. He was now sweating profusely. He looked at Adory and mentioned her to follow him. She stood up, her knees had turned to jelly but she managed to follow him towards the cockpit. She had watched in amazement as he had sprung into action and brought down the hijacker in their cabin. Her trust in him had grown and she was now ready to help him in whatever way he asked.

He stopped a few feet from the cockpit door.

“I don’t know how many men are inside there, there could only be one but we cant be sure and have to be ready for anything,” he was speaking softly. She nodded feeling braver by the minute. “Now listen carefully. You will knock but we don’t know who’ll come out. My hunch is it will be the hijacker. It will surprise him that someone’s knocking. So as soon he opens, I want you to distract him for a second. That will be enough for me,” he paused. “And in case there are two, I will hit the first one then you hold this to his head,” he handed her the gun. She took it in her trembling hands. “Will you be able to do it?” he looked questioningly at her. She took a deep breath and nodded. He squeezed her hand and nodded towards the door. “Ok, lets go. All the best.”

Nick stood in front of the cockpit door, wiped his forehead and as Adory knocked. There was no noise from inside and Adory was about to knock again when the door opened cautiously. For a fraction of a second Nick’s heart stopped beating and he thought that the man inside wouldn’t come out. Then the door opened wider and a masked head looked out. Nick glanced at Adory, who nodded and swiftly came in front of the man. He was also taken by surprise as had his henchman before him and turned to look at Adory. Nick took the chance and pounced on him from behind. He gave two swift blows on the hijackers head and one between his eyes, which knocked him out.

Nick quickly grabbed the gun from Adory’s hand and entered the cockpit. Two sweat drenched pilots sat in their seats and quickly held up their hands as Nick entered. Nick’s eyes swept through the cabin, as he made sure there was no other hijacker then lowered his gun as he grinned and flashed his badge at the two pilots. “Game over gentlemen!”

The two men sat there stunned then slowly realized what Nick had just said.
Then one of them stood up and slowly walked towards the passenger cabin. He stood there trying to fully take in what had just happened then a slow smile spread across his face. “We have been saved!” There was no sound at first then a cheer went up.

Adory was sitting on the front of the plane outside the cockpit. Nick found her holding her hands, still dazed and unable to believe what she had done.
“You were amazing,” Nick sat down next to her. She looked up. “I’m not a good for nothing,” she said it almost to herself, but Nick heard her. “Who said you’re good for nothing?” he asked puzzled, “in fact I don’t think anyone else would have handled this situation any more better than you did considering the situation and the fact you are an amateur! Thank you for trusting me and helping. I am not sure I could have done it all alone !”

Adory stood up and for the first time in days she smiled genuinely. She took Nick’s hand as they walked towards where the Captain stood with the other cheering passengers.

“I may be shy and not like the limelight but that doesn’t make me good for nothing!” She felt like she had just woken up after a long nightmare. She squeezed Nick’s hand as a light hearted feeling crept over her as they stood together, basking in the praises of their co-passengers.

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