India

Deputy President of Kenya claims missing Indian was killed; Government has yet to confirm

KENYAN President William Ruto’s close aide claimed Zulfiqar Ahmad Khan, a former TV executive who had been missing since July, was killed.

Despite no official confirmation from the Indian government, it is understood that Khan, 48, was caught up in the bitter political fight between Kenyan political parties during the August elections this year. After defeating incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta in September of this year, William Ruto was elected president of Kenya.

It has been reported that Khan was tasked by Ruto’s team, which was in opposition, with managing the social media campaign. According to reports, this did not sit well with the ruling establishment in Kenya, led by President Kenyatta. Due to this, he was abducted, a claim substantiated by Dennis Itumbi, the aide to President Ruto.

He said in a social media post on Twitter that the missing Indian had been killed by the now-disbanded Special Service Unit (SSU), which has been accused of extrajudicial killings.

In July, Zulfiqar Ahmad Khan and his friend Mohamed Zaid Sami Kidwai, who were members of the Kenya Kwanza digital campaign team, disappeared along with taxi driver Nicodemus Mwania from Mombasa Road. Itumbi, who was a key player in Ruto’s presidential campaign, said the two were working on Ruto’s campaign.

He praised them on Twitter, “Sometimes when our team was overwhelmed and we needed graphics, I sent (material) their way and they paused whatever they were doing to assist me.”

There were visits to Mombasa, Homa Bay, (Masai) Mara, nyama choma joints, and they also enjoyed our dance joints. I was invited to visit India; I told them I would do so following the elections. There was a primary focus on enjoying Kenya to the fullest extent possible. “They produced very attractive content when they sat down together,” he said.

“As usual, they (Zaid and Khan) went above and beyond. There are memes here, videos there, box quotes and much more,” he explained. It was even possible to discuss endless ideas through a Telegram group that was rarely silent.”

Two days before they returned to India, Itumbi recalls hearing that the duo had lost a phone during a night out. It was not possible to reach them. The other day, I learned about their painful last moments in the hands of people whose sole mission was to ensure that Dr Ruto would not become President, even if it meant killing people.” They killed people who were only mistaken for being our friends in this instance.

As a result of a probe into the disappearance of the two Indians linked to the unit, President Ruto ordered the disbandment of the SSU last Saturday, according to Kenyan media reports. Also being investigated are former members of the unit.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, several contacts have been made between the Indian government and the Kenyan authorities about this issue.

Arindam Bagchi, the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, stated last week that two Indian nationals, Zulfiqar Ahmad Khan and Zaid Sami Kidwai, were missing since mid-July in Kenya. Following that, a police complaint was filed there. A habeas corpus petition was then filed in the Kenyan court. It is understood that the issue is currently under appeal in the high court of Kenya, and a number of hearings have taken place.”

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

A former executive of the Indian entertainment channel Star Plus, Khan, was the chief operating officer of Ekta Kapoor’s Balaji Telefilms.

Khan’s friend commented on Sunday that his friends were only aware of what had been reported in the media. According to his friends, Khan was visiting Kenya as a tourist, and he had not been in contact with his family or friends since July 21. Earlier this month, his friends requested assistance from Indian and Kenyan authorities in order to locate him. Last week, a friend reported that Khan, a resident of Mumbai, had left for Kenya in the last week of June.

Several of his friends had also shared a note on October 20 confirming that he was in Kenya as a tourist and had met several Indians.

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