A cloud of tension has enshrouded parts of Likoni in Mombasa County following multiple reports of alleged kidnapping incidents in the area.
As a result, panic-stricken parents in the area have now resorted to accompanying their children to and from school.
In the latest incident, suspects riding in Tuk Tuk were spotted in Tulia Moyo area last Saturday where they are alleged to have attempted to kidnap a babyclass infant.
"We have received reports of a pupil who encountered suspected kidnappers face to face but they sped off after she raised alarm," said James Juma, the headteacher of Valentine Primary school in Likoni.
A class six pupil at the school whose brother was allegedly targeted by the said suspects said they had just arrived home from school on Saturday and were awaiting their mother to return from the market when a Tuk Tuk arrived with two occupants.
"They were looking at my brother before calling two other people. One of them who was donning a cream t-shirt and jungle green trousers resembling that of the military was constantly on phone. I picked my brother and rushed into the house but when I peeped through the window, I saw one of them going behind our house still looking at us," she said adding that she pretended that a neighbour who is also a close friend to their mother was their mother and called her in distress.
Immediately, the pupil says the suspects appeared confused and sped off in different directions.
Her mother Salma Mbarak says on arrival from the market at around 6.00pm that day she was shocked by the reports but said she suspects that several people have been targeting her kid.
"I suspect there is a deal because on several occasions I have seen people admiring my child in a weird way. One day we were walking with my child and a vehicle that was passing by slowed down and the occupants looked at us closely. After the latest development I have started thinking there must be a plan going on," she says adding she did not immediately report the incident.
The tension has further been compounded by scary social media reports on alleged kidnapping with one footage showing a child with bloodied face after a suspected kidnapper who was since attacked by a mob allegedly attempted to gouge his eyes.
For the better part of the week, parents of Valentine Primary school have resolved to accompany their children to and from school.
However, Likoni Sub County Police Commander Jecton Opengo claims some of the reports have been widely exaggerated with only one incident of an alleged attempted kidnapping having been reported involving a pupil from Shikadabu Primary school.
In the alleged incident, Opengo said the said pupil was reportedly called going to school in the morning when a black Matatu slowed down and a man alighted and approached him but he ran away.
"In the evening when he reported the matter to his parents, the matter was reported at Inuka police station. We have since launched investigations into the incident. Unfortunately, the vehicle registration was not captured but investigations are still ongoing," he said urging for calm and cooperation from residents.
The Police chief said reports about people disappearing and their bodies being found badly mutilated are untrue.
He said he has handled two cases of lifeless bodies found floating in the ocean adding non of them had mutilation
"One of the bodies was juvenile from Mwahima secondary school whose body was found at Shelly Beach but postmortem revealed he died on drowning. The second incident is of an unknown African male adult. The body had cuts on the ear, lips and forehead. All these bodies have all their parts intact contrary to social media reports that they were mutilated," said Opengo.
He advised the public to be vigilant but not to panic and avoid sharing scary information.
" Please share with us any suspicious information because we cannot investigate something that has not been reported," the Police boss said.