Three American medical students who were being detained at a Migori hotel over an unpaid bill of Sh200,000 have disappeared.
The trio were said to have escaped through the fence at night when the Gilly Hotel guards were asleep.
The hotel staff reported in the morning only to find an empty room where the foreigners were staying.
“We are still wondering how they escaped through the fence without the guards spotting them. May be it might have been an inside job,” said a worker who sought anonymity for fear of victimization.
Another employee said the Americans “must have been inducted into the Kenyan mentality of escaping through the fence by insiders.”
Migori police boss Mr Alfred Makoma confirmed the night escape, saying the Americans must have been agitated by their continued detention at the hotel.
“Two of them however left their luggage in the room because they were very heavy,” he added. The luggage mainly contained clothes.
Ms Brooke Weiser, Ms Logan Key and Mr Ilya Frid came to the country three weeks ago to do their medical practices at St Joseph’s Mission Hospital Ombo in Migori.
They were then booked by their agent at Gilly Hotel where they stayed for that period.
But the agent who booked them at the hotel reportedly failed to pay their bills despite having been paid by the students before they came into the country.
“We paid Medics to Africa, being our agent in the country that was identified by our embassy in Nairobi. Other students came before on similar arrangements and went back,” said Ms Weiser earlier before their escape.
The hotel guards had previously physically blocked them from leaving their rooms until the bill was paid, a situation that made them miss their scheduled flights back to the US. The gates were then locked by guards.
OVER SH1 MILLION DEBT
An official of the hotel Mr Oscar Omoga said the previous group left a debt of Sh800,000, making the total debt owed to the hotel to be over Sh1 million.
“We have detained them because we want to be paid. This is business not philanthropy,” he said.
But the Americans protested saying they were booked into the hotel by an agent who should have been the one held responsible.
“We never had any contract with the hotel, we were brought here by the agent who is well known to the hotel. Our continued detention here is illegal and reflects a bad image of this country internationally,” said Ms Key.
The group contacted their embassy in Nairobi but were told to hand over the matter to the local police to secure their release.
Police under the command of the local police boss Alfred Makoma later swung into action and arrested director of Medics to Africa organisation, Mr Joshua Omollo.
He was promptly charged in court with another offence of issuing a cheque of Sh300,000 to Ombo Hospital which later bounced.
He denied the offence and was released on a cash bail of Sh200,000 and another bond of Sh500,000 which he failed to raise and was remanded at the Migori GK prison.
Mr Makoma said Omollo will later in the week face another charge of failing to pay hotel bills. He will be charged once investigations are completed.