Wednesday 17 July 2013

Couple Disappeared While On Their Way To Their Honeymoon 1 Year Ago [Photo]

PHOTO | GIBSON MAINA NDERITU The couple looked forward to a future together.
It is exactly a year today since they disappeared.
Martin and Mary Kirimi vanished on their way to their honeymoon in Zanzibar on July 17, last year.
The handsome couple, who had dated for two years, had gotten married three days earlier, on July 14, and looked forward to their future together. Martin was a nurse, Mary a kindergarten teacher, and according to her eldest sister Rachel Murugi, she wanted several children of her own.
“She loved children, and was easily the favorite aunt because of her immense patience with them – her nieces and nephews loved her,” she says.
Timothy Kinyua, Martin’s elder brother, describes him as likeable, “cool” and very hardworking.
“He had invested in several pieces of land, and was planning to develop some of them after settling down – he had wanted to offer Mary and the children they’d get a comfortable life,” he says.
When the couple left Nairobi on July 17, their plan was simple - to travel by road to the Namanga border, from where they would take a bus to Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, and thereafter, a three-hour ferry ride to Zanzibar.
Rachel says that the couple called one of her brothers, Norman Mwangi, to inform him that they had just arrived at the Namanga border and were waiting for a bus to take them to Dar-es-Salaam. That call, she says, was the last their families got from them.
“They called on Tuesday at 10am from the border and told us that they were just about to board a bus to Dar-es-Salaam, and that they hoped to get there by 9.30pm the same day. They promised to call as soon as they arrived, but they never did,” says Rachel.
The next day, on July 18, the world woke up to horrifying news that 128 people had perished after a Zanzibar-bound ferry capsized. The news not only made the two families anxious, but also prompted them to look for the couple, especially because they hadn’t heard from them.
According to Mary’s younger sister, Priscillah Mwangi, Martin and Mary’s honeymoon was to take ten days, and the families grew anxious with every passing day when the couple did not communicate.
That Sunday, the two families decided to send Kinyua, (Martin’s brother) to look for them in Tanzania. It’s an experience he’d like to forget, but says that he’d go through it again, if it would reveal the whereabouts of his brother and his wife.
“The experience really affected me...the images of those lost lives refuse to go,” he says.
Because the bodies, and more so the faces were disfigured beyond recognition, Kinyua relied on his memory of the couple’s body structures, as well as their wedding rings, in an effort to identify them – he couldn’t.
A couple of weeks after the accident, more bodies were found in Tanga, and again Kinyua travelled to Tanzania, this time accompanied by Mary’s brother, Norman Mwangi. The two retraced the couple’s steps in an effort to get a clue of their whereabouts.
They took the same route the couple had taken, arrived at about the same time, and even took a flight to Zanzibar. They combed through all hotels in Dar-es-Salaam, but not a single person seemed to have seen Martin and Mary, save for a taxi driver who claimed to have seen the couple.
“He told us that he had asked them if they wanted a taxi, but Martin had told him that they were waiting for somebody to pick them up,” Kinyua says.
Also, a passenger who says he travelled on the same bus with them e-mailed the Kenyan embassy in Tanzania and confirmed that they arrived safely in Dar-es-Salaam, at 9:30 pm on July 17th, after which everybody went their separate ways.

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