60-year-old mother narrates how she lost four children to Al-Shabaab

Rukiyyah Abdu, a mother of 11 who lost her four children to Al-Shabaab. [Photo: Nation]

Rukiyyah Abdu bore 11 children and it was her joy that in her sunset years, she would look back and feel great.

However, for the 60-year-old mother, life has served her a major blow as she lost four of her children – a daughter included – to the jihadist group, Al-Shabaab.

The Somali-based militants first lured her fifth born then Saadia, her daughter who was 17 when she ran away together with her brother in 2016 only to get a call that she was getting married.

She woke up one morning and disappeared. She would later phone her father seeking permission to be wedded in Somalia, she got agitated since he refused and asked her to return home.

Nine months later, she called home seeking forgiveness and broke the news that she was nine months pregnant. Saadia could not stand life in Somalia.

“After witnessing the tough conditions in Somalia, my daughter regretted her decision but she could not return because she feared the Kenya police as well as the al-Shabaab militants would come after her,” Abdu narrated.

Saadia’s husband was also killed in less than a year leaving her heavily pregnant.

Her firstborn son Salim Abdi is currently held at Shimo la Tewa Prison. He is the one who introduced his siblings to the Al-Shabaab network.

His 10th and 11th born also disappeared to Somalia but were not so lucky.

Abdul Satar Abdi, 17, was arrested by police in Mandera last year and later released on condition that he reports to the police station every Monday of a new month.

He kept a low profile and even informed his mother that he wanted to get married.

He would marry a while later but went missing mysteriously soon after.

Abdu now blames the disappearance of her last born son on police.

She has asked the government to ensure that it introduces lessons on terrorism in the curriculum.