Missing Ethiopian businessman Samson Teklemichael has been in Kenya for close to 16 years.

Teklemichael friends and business partners say he had established a strong empire that had grown into a multimillion-shilling entity.

He exports gas to Addis Ababa, where he had established a base for further distribution.

In Nairobi, he has a gas distribution centre specifically for his market in Ethiopia. He moved to Nairobi in 2009.

His wife, Milen Mezgebo, maintained her husband is a reputable businessman who exports gas cylinders to Ethiopia and that he had not expressed fears over his life.

“We have never been under any investigation while here. We lived a quiet life for the period we have been here and Kenya is our home,” she said.

Mezgebo said all their children were born in Nairobi and they know it as their home.

She said her husband will turn 39 in December this year and they have planned a huge party to celebrate his birthday.

Teklemichael loves the "soft life" and drives high-end cars. He frequents a popular car wash along Lenana Road, where attendants describe him as a generous man.

“He is rich-looking from the way he handled himself,” an attendant said.

He had also ventured into the real estate business.

Embakasi East MP Babu Owino described Teklemichael as a polished man who is good in his business.

"... I can't recall any bad things he did. He did clean business in Nairobi. Let whoever is holding him release him," Owino said.

Gas industry is lucrative and complicated. Those who have made it in it are rich in general.

Other friends said he kept in touch with his Tigray friends in Addis Ababa and abroad. This perhaps, they suspect, could be the reason for his abduction.

He is of Tigray origin. The friends said in as much as he was in contact with his Tigray friends and relatives, he never expressed fear or concern over the ongoing chaos in his country amid arrests and detention of those from his region.

“He operated freely in Nairobi as if nothing was happening back in his home country. We know there have been issues in Ethiopia and many people of Tigray origin were worried and had gone underground but Teklemichael did not show any fears,” one of the friends said. 

Tigray is at war with the Ethiopian federal troops. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said Monday he will join the frontline to lead the country’s defence forces against the Tigray forces, marking another milestone in the conflict.

There have been speculations that Teklemichael has been shipped out of the country to Ethiopia. Ethiopian embassy in Nairobi did not respond to queries about the abduction.

Other security agents said Teklemichael was at one time under their watch over claims of human smuggling from Ethiopia.

This followed claims from various parties in the underworld business that he could be a smuggler.

He was, however, cleared after an investigation.

Thousands of Ethiopians are smuggled yearly at a fee to other parts of the world for jobs.

His wife denied he had been questioned over the claims.

“I have known him as a reputable man who does genuine business. I can't recall him being under investigation for whatsoever reason. I don’t know,” she said.

She said she is hopeful to see the father of their three children return.

Teklemichael has been missing since November 19 when he was abducted as he drove his Bentley. He was stopped in broad daylight, dragged into a Subaru car by men in civilian clothes as other road users recorded the drama.

In a video that has since gone viral, Teklemichael can be heard pleading with witnesses at the scene to record his capture.

Mezgebo said he called her as he was being taken away. The phone was later switched off.

“He called and told me he had been abducted by people he didn’t know. After that he disconnected. We have reported the matter to the police and embassy but no help so far,” she said.

The abductors left his car at the scene along the road in Kileleshwa. His wife was informed by a friend that her husband's car had been parked in the middle of the road. 

Mezgebo said she picked the car from the scene and reported the matter to Kilimani police station.

No contact has since been made to the family, which is pleading with authorities to locate him.

"The police say they are still investigating. If they are not getting anything, then that means we are not safe here," Mezgebo said.

The family has moved to court to demand that he be produced.

Kilimani OCPD Andrew Muturi said the matter is being investigated by DCI detectives at the station.

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