Jump Out Boys, Inc.: Kidnapping Big Business in Kenya

Kidnapping in Kenya is on the rise as citizens go to extremes to make ends meet...

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Photo courtesy of nytimes.com

Kidnapping is becoming big business in Kenya with often horrific results. From the New York Times:

Little Emmanuel Aguer was one of the most recent victims.

A month ago, he was snatched on the way to his grandmother’s house. Four days later, after his middle-class family received calls asking for $70 or else — calls the family was not sure were even genuine — his uncle found his corpse stuffed in a sugar sack. His head had been bludgeoned and his eyes were gouged out.

Emmanuel was 6 years old.

“These people knew what they were doing,” said his uncle, Mariak Aguek. “What they did was so traumatizing, I can’t even express it.”

Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, is a teeming city of have-nots and have-lots, so notorious for violent crime that it is often called “Nai-robbery.” But there is a new problem, or at least one that is causing new fear — kidnapping, and several recent attacks have been on children and Western women.

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In July, two smartly dressed young men walked into the workshop of an Indian trader in Nairobi and asked him to give them an estimate for a new well. When the trader went out to the site, he was jumped by a gang of six, bundled into a car and cruelly beaten with hammers and belts until his family cobbled together $3,000 for his release.

“It was a set-up,” the trader said. “They must have been monitoring me for some time.”

Many people here are beginning to wonder if the Kenyan thugs may have been inspired by their Somali brethren next door, who have made millions snatching foreigners on land and sea.