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PM Modi Raises Issue of Missing Indians with Kenyan President: What Is the Case?

Zulfiqar Ahmad Khan and Mohamed Zaid Sami Kidwai had gone missing in Kenya's Nairobi in July 2022.

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During delegation-level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Kenyan President William Samoei Ruto on Tuesday, 5 December, India raised the issue of two Indian nationals who went missing in Kenya in July 2022.

Former Balaji Telefilms COO Zulfiqar Ahmad Khan and fellow Indian Mohamed Zaid Sami Kidwai, along with their local driver Nicodemus Mwania, went missing in Nairobi after leaving a popular club in the Westlands neighbourhood.

The Ministry of External Affairs Secretary (Economic Relations) Dammu Ravi spoke during a media briefing amid the Kenyan President's three-day-visit and said, "The authorities on both sides have been in contact with each other and information is being shared between the two sides (relating to the case)."

"At this point, we should not speculate because the investigation is ongoing. It is a sub-judice matter in the courts of Kenya. We will have to wait and see how things move," Ravi added.

PM Modi Raises Issue of Missing Indians with Kenyan President: What Is the Case?

  1. 1. Who Are the Two Men?

    48 years old, Zulfiqar Ahmad Khan was an Indian media marketing professional and used to work as the COO of Mumbai-based TV company Balaji Telefilms.

    According to his LinkedIn profile, Khan is a seasoned business leader with over 19 years of expertise in broadcast and digital media organisations. Described as results-oriented and people-centric, Khan reportedly spent 16 years working for Star India, before moving to a business executive role at EROS now.

    His profile added that he is an alumnus of Delhi University's Hansraj College and completed his schooling from St George's College, Mussoorie.

    Following his resignation in June 2022, Khan embarked on a month-long journey across Kenya. His social media was filled with images and videos of his visit to Kenya before he disappeared, varying from videos of a roaring lion in the Maasai Mara game reserve to images of breakfasts in Nairobi.

    "Magical mornings in Maasai Mara. Just imagine when the first encounter you have is with Simba. Breakfast anyone?" he wrote.

    His friends described him as a passionate sports enthusiast, a connoisseur of food, an enthusiastic traveller, and an explorer with a deep love for cricket.

    The second Indian individual, Mohammad Zaid Sami Kidwai, aged 36, arrived in Nairobi on a tourist visa. However, details about Kidwai, originally from Lucknow and a resident of Dubai, are limited.

    Reports from Kenyan media quoted by BBC referred to him as an "information and communication technology expert" known for maintaining a private lifestyle.

    Expand
  2. 2. Why Kenya? What Happened to The Pair?

    The local media, quoted by BBC, reported that the two Indians were visiting to assist now-President William Ruto's election campaign, which culminated with Ruto's win in September.

    A consultant who ran Ruto's digital campaign said that the men "indeed assisted" in the social media campaign and added:

    "I met both of them a number of times in Nairobi. I knew where they used to stay. I was on a Telegram group with them. They were not employed by the campaign, but they gave us some ideas, some of which we used."

    However, Khan's friends denied that he was in Kenya for business. Delhi-based marketing professional Rajiv Dubey, who knew Khan for 24 years, said:

    "Zulfi never told me or his friends about any job he was doing for the election campaign there. He would always call me up if he was doing something new."

    Dubey had spoken to his friend four days before Khan left for Kenya, reportedly to witness the annual "Great Migration," where over two million wildebeest, zebra and herd animals migrate to Maasai Mara. Dubey said that Khan sounded "very happy."

    According to reports, the taxi carrying Khan and Kidwai was forcibly stopped by a group of men on a Nairobi road, and they were then abducted and driven in another vehicle to the Aberdare forest where they were allegedly killed and "their bodies dumped."

    Writing to the Indian High Commission in Nairobi, Kidwai's wife Ambreen said that her husband had been visiting Kenya as a tourist since February and described Khan as her husband's friend, BBC reported.

    Ambreen said that Khan and Kidwai exited their hotel and headed to a bar at 10:45pm on 22 July and added that she had messaged her husband around midnight, enquiring about his return. Kidwai replied that he would leave the bar in "15 minutes".

    It was when Ambreen woke up at 3 am that she found that her husband had not returned and called both Kidwai and the driver, but both of their phones were switched off.

    The next day, Ambreen filed a missing person report for both her husband and Khan with the police in Kenya and headed to the bar, where she requested access to the CCTV footage which revealed that the two individuals left the bar around one in the morning and entered a Toyota sedan.

    Ambreen confirmed that an abandoned vehicle discovered by the police matched the one her husband and Zulfiqar Khan had been traveling in.

    The Kenyan police arrested nine policemen in connection to what they believe was a kidnapping and murder of the three men. Kenyan President Ruto also disbanded the Special Services Unit - an elite squad long-blamed for extrajudicial killings and disappearances of suspects.

    Expand
  3. 3. What’s the Latest on The Case? 

    India extended full support to Kenya regarding the case of missing Indians last year and is reportedly closely monitoring the developments. An Indian investigation team visited Nairobi from 1 to 3 November 2022, and met with Kenya's Department of Public Prosecution and Department of Criminal Investigation.

    "At this point, we should not speculate because the investigation is ongoing. It is a sub-judice matter in the courts of Kenya. We will have to wait and see how things move," MEA Secretary Dammu Ravi said.

    Indian High Commissioner to Kenya, Namgya Khampa, affirmed the mission's continued engagement with Kenyan authorities, continuously monitoring the situation.

    Additionally, the Indian envoy met with Ruto, requesting an expedited investigation into the matter.

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

Who Are the Two Men?

48 years old, Zulfiqar Ahmad Khan was an Indian media marketing professional and used to work as the COO of Mumbai-based TV company Balaji Telefilms.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Khan is a seasoned business leader with over 19 years of expertise in broadcast and digital media organisations. Described as results-oriented and people-centric, Khan reportedly spent 16 years working for Star India, before moving to a business executive role at EROS now.

His profile added that he is an alumnus of Delhi University's Hansraj College and completed his schooling from St George's College, Mussoorie.

Following his resignation in June 2022, Khan embarked on a month-long journey across Kenya. His social media was filled with images and videos of his visit to Kenya before he disappeared, varying from videos of a roaring lion in the Maasai Mara game reserve to images of breakfasts in Nairobi.

"Magical mornings in Maasai Mara. Just imagine when the first encounter you have is with Simba. Breakfast anyone?" he wrote.

His friends described him as a passionate sports enthusiast, a connoisseur of food, an enthusiastic traveller, and an explorer with a deep love for cricket.

The second Indian individual, Mohammad Zaid Sami Kidwai, aged 36, arrived in Nairobi on a tourist visa. However, details about Kidwai, originally from Lucknow and a resident of Dubai, are limited.

Reports from Kenyan media quoted by BBC referred to him as an "information and communication technology expert" known for maintaining a private lifestyle.

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Why Kenya? What Happened to The Pair?

The local media, quoted by BBC, reported that the two Indians were visiting to assist now-President William Ruto's election campaign, which culminated with Ruto's win in September.

A consultant who ran Ruto's digital campaign said that the men "indeed assisted" in the social media campaign and added:

"I met both of them a number of times in Nairobi. I knew where they used to stay. I was on a Telegram group with them. They were not employed by the campaign, but they gave us some ideas, some of which we used."

However, Khan's friends denied that he was in Kenya for business. Delhi-based marketing professional Rajiv Dubey, who knew Khan for 24 years, said:

"Zulfi never told me or his friends about any job he was doing for the election campaign there. He would always call me up if he was doing something new."

Dubey had spoken to his friend four days before Khan left for Kenya, reportedly to witness the annual "Great Migration," where over two million wildebeest, zebra and herd animals migrate to Maasai Mara. Dubey said that Khan sounded "very happy."

According to reports, the taxi carrying Khan and Kidwai was forcibly stopped by a group of men on a Nairobi road, and they were then abducted and driven in another vehicle to the Aberdare forest where they were allegedly killed and "their bodies dumped."

Writing to the Indian High Commission in Nairobi, Kidwai's wife Ambreen said that her husband had been visiting Kenya as a tourist since February and described Khan as her husband's friend, BBC reported.

Ambreen said that Khan and Kidwai exited their hotel and headed to a bar at 10:45pm on 22 July and added that she had messaged her husband around midnight, enquiring about his return. Kidwai replied that he would leave the bar in "15 minutes".

It was when Ambreen woke up at 3 am that she found that her husband had not returned and called both Kidwai and the driver, but both of their phones were switched off.

The next day, Ambreen filed a missing person report for both her husband and Khan with the police in Kenya and headed to the bar, where she requested access to the CCTV footage which revealed that the two individuals left the bar around one in the morning and entered a Toyota sedan.

Ambreen confirmed that an abandoned vehicle discovered by the police matched the one her husband and Zulfiqar Khan had been traveling in.

The Kenyan police arrested nine policemen in connection to what they believe was a kidnapping and murder of the three men. Kenyan President Ruto also disbanded the Special Services Unit - an elite squad long-blamed for extrajudicial killings and disappearances of suspects.

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What’s the Latest on The Case? 

India extended full support to Kenya regarding the case of missing Indians last year and is reportedly closely monitoring the developments. An Indian investigation team visited Nairobi from 1 to 3 November 2022, and met with Kenya's Department of Public Prosecution and Department of Criminal Investigation.

"At this point, we should not speculate because the investigation is ongoing. It is a sub-judice matter in the courts of Kenya. We will have to wait and see how things move," MEA Secretary Dammu Ravi said.

Indian High Commissioner to Kenya, Namgya Khampa, affirmed the mission's continued engagement with Kenyan authorities, continuously monitoring the situation.

Additionally, the Indian envoy met with Ruto, requesting an expedited investigation into the matter.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Kenya   missing Indians 

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