“I was thrown out of a moving vehicle after being tortured” – Man abducted over protests narrates experience

Kenya School of Law President Joshua Okayo shared his brutal abduction, torture, and near-death experience, revealing his involvement in the Finance Bill 2024 protests.

He was blindfolded, driven aimlessly, and subjected to relentless questioning.

“They asked me why people were protesting, who the financiers were, and why KSL students were at the forefront,” Okayo recalled.

For 30 agonising minutes, his captors remained silent, only breaking the silence to probe him about the protests.

After what felt like an eternity, Okayo was transferred to another vehicle, where the torment continued. He was forced into the boot and driven around for hours before being thrown into a dark room, still blindfolded, and left without food or water.

The torture was relentless. “They beat me on my chest, legs, and ankles, strangled me, and demanded information I didn’t have,” Okayo revealed. Despite the severe beating and strangulation, Okayo remained resolute, refusing to provide the details his abductors sought.

His nightmare culminated on the morning of Friday, June 28, when his captors threw him out of a moving vehicle near Maragua River.

“I rolled several times on the ground, too weak to move,” he recounted. A local crowd eventually found him, tending to his injuries and helping him contact his family.

The genesis of Okayo’s predicament traces back to Tuesday, June 25, when he joined friends in protests that saw youths storming Parliament Buildings in Nairobi.

The protests were a response to the Finance Bill, 2024, and Okayo, a prominent figure in the movement, had issued statements demanding the release of two KSL students who had been abducted.

Fearful for his safety, Okayo switched off his mobile phone and accepted a ride from a friend, only to be dropped off a short distance from his home due to heavy traffic.
As he walked the remaining distance, he heard someone calling his name. Assuming it was his pursuers, he ran until he recognised the voices of his classmates, who offered him refuge for the night.

However, the next morning, as he prepared for school, three men accosted him, forcing him into a car.

For the next two days, he endured torture and interrogation, with his captors continually demanding information about the protests and the alleged involvement of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in drafting the Finance Bill.

The abductors eventually returned his phone, albeit with the SIM cards removed and money withdrawn from his accounts. They even installed WhatsApp on his phone, possibly to monitor his communications. Despite the ordeal, Okayo’s spirit remains unbroken. “I knew in my heart that I was fighting for justice,” he said.

The government has since pledged to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the abductions and arbitrary arrests during the protests. Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki assured the public of the government’s commitment to protecting constitutional rights and warned against exploiting peaceful protests to cause chaos.

Okayo remains steadfast in his resolve to continue advocating for justice and supporting the protests. “As long as it’s constitutional to protest, I will ensure my voice is heard,” he declared. He also expressed gratitude to those who rescued him and supported him throughout his ordeal, highlighting the unity and resilience of Kenyans in the face of adversity.

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