Human Rights Activist James Macharia Held Hostage by Armed Men in Thika

A photo of a hostage in detention.
A photo of a hostage in detention.
Security Magazine

A human-rights activist based in Thika, Kiambu County, was on Friday night attacked by six armed men who sought to acquire sensitive documents relating to his work.

Reports indicated that James Macharia Mwangi, the chairman of the African Centre for Correction and Prevention Action, was accosted while arriving at his residence in Maporomoko estate near Chania River. 

The armed men forced the activist into his house and held his family hostage for over an hour before leaving with the sensitive documents.

They also ransacked the house and left with electronics and household goods of unknown value. 

A gunman in a balaclava
A photo of a gunman in a balaclava.

An official at Macharia's organisation, who spoke to the press, speculated that the incident could be related to his line of work.

"Mwangi was attacked outside his house at a time when we have received some letters from the British government concerning many cases we have been holding against the army for the human rights services and environmental pollution that has been perpetrated against the people of Laikipia," he alleged. 

"We are very much apprehensive and are hoping that the investigating agencies will fast-track the case and bring the culprits to book. 

"Also, we call upon the government to offer witness protection and other agencies handling sensitive cases to be protected too."

Another official also believed that the incident was a well-orchestrated plan by Macharia's detractors.

"We're hoping and praying it's a normal incident, but if you look at the kind of attack and how it was carried out, you can see it was not something out of the ordinary," he stated.

"We don't know the motive of the attack and also to know the kind of things they took after breaking the house and terrorising the family."

Macharia and the police have yet to release a statement on the incident.

Police officers walking along Kenyatta Avenue in June 2022.
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