Kenyan president’s assistant claims missing Indian killed, no official government report yet

FORMER TELEVISION senior executive Zulfiqar Ahmad Khan, who has been missing in Kenya since July, has been murdered, a close associate of Kenyan President William Ruto has claimed.

Although there is no official confirmation from the Indian government, it has been learned that Khan, 48, was embroiled in the bitter battle between political parties in Kenya, where elections were held in August this year. William Ruto won the election and became Kenya’s president in September this year after defeating incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta.

It is learned that Khan was bugged by Ruto’s opposition team for helping with the social media campaign. This has reportedly not gone down well with Kenya’s ruling establishment, which was led by President Kenyatta. As a result, he was kidnapped — a claim substantiated by President Ruto’s aide Dennis Itumbi.

In a social media post on Twitter, he said the missing Indian was murdered by the now-disbanded Special Service Unit (SSU), a group accused of extrajudicial killings.

Zulfiqar Ahmad Khan and his friend Mohamed Zaid Sami Kidwai, who were part of the Kenya Kwanza digital campaign team, went missing in July alongside taxi driver Nicodemus Mwania of Mombasa Road. The two worked for Ruto’s campaign, said Itumbi, who was a key player in Ruto’s presidential campaigns.

He praised them, saying in his posts on Twitter: “Sometimes when our team was overwhelmed and we needed graphics, I would send (material) their way and they would pause what they were doing and do me the favor.”

“They visited Mombasa, Homa Bay, (Masai) Mara, nyama choma joints and also loved our dance joints. They invited me to India; I told them that I would be visiting after (the) elections. Their eyes were mainly focused on enjoying Kenya as much as possible. When they sat down, they produced very engaging content,” he added.

“As usual, they (Zaid and Khan) always went the extra mile. A meme here, a video there, a box quote and much more,” he said. “We even had a Telegram group that rarely kept quiet, with endless ideas.”

Just two days before they returned to India, Itumbi recalled, he learned that the duo had lost a phone during a night out. “They could not be reached. Recently, I finally got to know their painful final moments at the hands of people whose sole mission was to ensure that Dr. Ruto will not become president, even if it means killing people,” he said. “In this case, they killed people whose only mistake was being our friends.”

These Twitter posts come in the wake of President Ruto who last Saturday ordered the dissolution of SSU after an investigation into the disappearance of the two Indians was linked to the unit, according to a Kenyan media report. Officials who have served in the unit are also being investigated.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that the Indian government has been in contact with the Kenyan authorities about this.

Last week, Foreign Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said: “As far as we know, there were two Indian nationals, Zulfiqar Ahmad Khan and Zaid Sami Kidwai, and they have been missing in Kenya since mid-July. Shortly thereafter, a police charge was filed there….A habeas corpus petition was then filed with the Kenyan court. We understand that the matter is now before the Supreme Court of Kenya and a number of hearings have taken place.”

He said the Indian High Commission in Kenya has been in contact with Kenyan authorities.

Khan was the COO of Ekta Kapoor’s Balaji Telefilms and former director of Indian entertainment channel Star Plus.

A friend of Khan said on Sunday that his friends only knew what had been reported in the media so far.

His friends had previously said that Khan was visiting Kenya as a tourist and his family and friends had not heard from him around July 21. Earlier this month, his friends had asked authorities in India and Kenya for help in tracking him down. Khan, a resident of Mumbai, had left for Kenya in the last week of June, a friend had said last week.

On October 20, his friends had also shared a note, in which he reiterated that he was in Kenya as a tourist and that as a tourist he had met several Indians in Kenya.

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