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Teen girl missing for 3 months finally reunited with her family
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|Teen girl missing for 3 months finally reunited with her family by Kenyans247(1): Fri 06, November, 2020 05:58pm|
When Monicah Atieno Koko followed her father out of a cyber café in Nairobi on August 6, 2020, she had no idea that it would mark the beginning of her short stint as a street child.
From walking for close to 50km, surviving attempted molestation to sleeping in cold streets of the city for two weeks and being separated from her parents for more than two months, the 13-year-old saw it all.On that fateful day, Monicah was left in a cyber café in Nacico Chambers at the junction of Moi Avenue and Tom Mboya Street by her father, Joseph Koko, who had stepped out to run some errands in town.
The two were to travel to Mombasa after President Uhuru Kenyatta had just lifted a lockdown in Nairobi where a restriction of movement into and out of the capital city found them visiting a friend in Umoja Estate.
Rather than wait for her father to come back, the Class Seven pupil at Gates Academy in Migori County ventured out of the cyber café to look for him.
When Mr Koko came back after an hour, he could not find his daughter. The story of Monicah’s disappearance would then be highlighted by Nation.Africa in September.
That would mark the start of a life that saw the young girl separated from her father for close to three months.
“I followed him but I could not find him. So, I started walking not knowing where I was going trying to look for him. I kept walking until I reached Kikuyu at around 7pm. I decided to come back and I arrived in Ngara at about midnight,” recalled Monicah during an interview with the Nation.
She would then be taken in by a street boy who saw her walking in the streets late in the night and kept following her.
“The street boy kept on following me in the streets despite my protests as to why he was following me. I then asked him where the city centre was and he told me I was in the wrong direction as I was heading to Nairobi River. I then followed him,” she said.
However, what would follow was two weeks in the streets living with street children in Ngara and fending for themselves through begging for food. That was between August 6 and 19.“Life in the street is not easy, especially for girls. People would call you names. I had to keep away from boys and men because most of the time they would be preying on me. Some of the street boys would try to force themselves on me,” Monica recounted.
Then a twist in Monicah’s life came – a near brush with molestation.
“One day he wanted to force himself on me but I resisted. He then told me I should leave. I left. Then while I was walking around, I met a lady known as Njeri who said she was willing to help me. She then introduced me to a man called Guan,” she said.
The man, who later identified himself as Thomas Ochiku Amaka, took her to his house in King’eero in Lower Kabete where she stayed until she was rescued by police on Friday, October 30 and taken to King'eero Police Station before being transferred to Central Police Station and later to Kamukunji Police Station.
At the residential house, she says, her movements were closely monitored and she was not allowed to communicate with her father, whose mobile phone number she had off-head. She only got empty promises that they would take her back to her father.
Mr Guan lives with his wife and a househelp.
“I stayed there for the whole time but when I asked for a mobile phone, I would be given one without a SIM card. When I went outside, the wife would inquire what I was talking about because the husband did not like me talking to other people,” said Monicah.
Her saving grace came on Thursday, October 29, when a story about her disappearance was aired on Citizen TV, a story she did not watch since she was not feeling well and was sleeping.
She would then be asked by Guan the names of her parents to see if they matched those in the story.
“I remember that night Mr Guan asked me my parents’ names, which I told him but he did not say anything more. The following morning while I was mopping the stairs, I saw a man knocking at the door and I immediately sensed he was a policeman because of the way he dressed and walked although he was not in uniform.
“I was later called into the house by Guan who told me I was to go with the man and some other policemen. When I arrived at the police station, Njeri and the househelp were already there. I also saw a piece of paper saying that I was missing with a phone number of my mother. I called my father and informed him where I was. I also called my mother,” she said.
Monicah would later be taken to Central Police Station in Nairobi where she spent a night at the police cells before being transferred to Kamukunji Police Station at night where she would spend two nights in an adults’ cell despite being a juvenile.
She would then be taken to Makadara Law Courts on Monday after being informed that her parents could not agree on who she was to stay with. Monicah is currently staying with her mother, Nancy Koko.
Mr Koko, her father, although happy that his daughter is back, is not happy with how the matter of his child’s disappearance has been handled. He raised concern that no one even informed him about her rescue.
“This is something I have been following for close to three months, but when they went to collect my daughter, nobody informed me. It is just my daughter who called me to inform me that she had been picked up by the police,” said Mr Koko.
Mr Koko also wonders why no action has been taken against the people who were staying with her daughter.
“Why are the police officers not taking action on anyone? What was the intention of those people staying with my daughter for close to three months without reporting to any police station? What if we never made any efforts to find our daughter?” he asked.
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