Nairobi — Seven unclaimed bodies are currently lying at the Yala Sub-County morgue as the mystery continues to surround the killing and dumping of victims at the Yala River located in Siaya County.
Three of the seven bodies were retrieved from the river in the last two months, according to Yala Sub-County Hospital Medical Superintendent Bruno Okal.
Okal said four bodies were collected from the area surrounding the river while three were brought in by police officers.
“Out of the unclaimed bodies, six are male while the remaining is a female,” he said.
Okal appealed to the members of the public to come forward and help them in the identification of the victims in order to accord them a decent send-off.
“In case there is any missing person out there, kindly come to our morgue, help us identify the individuals and we will assist you,” he said.
In January 2022, activists Boniface Mwangi and Hussein Khalid of Haki Africa lifted the lid on shocking murders of people killed and their bodies dumped in River Yala.
Mwangi posted a thread on Twitter, detailing his visit with other rights activists to Yala Sub County Hospital mortuary where they counted more than 20 decomposing bodies waiting to be disposed of as unclaimed.
They also interviewed a witness identified as Okero Kite who said he had retrieved 31 bodies from River Yala since July 2021.
On 10th October 2021 alone, Okero said he retrieved 10 bodies.
“Each of the 10 bodies were in individual sacks, and in his own words, each body was neatly packed and sealed like a parcel,” Boniface said, quoting the witness.
The discovery elicited mixed reactions among Kenyans raising questions on the identity of the victims and those who might be behind their murders.
The discovery came after reports of people being kidnapped and disappearing without a trace hitting the headlines with families of missing kin raising an outcry on the whereabouts of their relatives.
However, while the rights groups maintained all the bodies recovered from the river were dumped recently, authorities refuted the claims insisting the body count was a cumulative figure dating back two years.
In a statement released on January 22, Amnesty International Kenya insisted that the 21 bodies at the Yala morgue and nine others buried in a mass grave were found over a period six months.
“All bodies found have evidence of physical torture and drowning. The bodies had been reported to the local police but there has been a lack of urgency or interest in investigating who has killed these deceased individuals, who are dumping them and why in the Yala river. We are now deeply concerned that the Hospital Mortuary plans to dispose of the 21 bodies by 31 January 2022,” Irüngü Houghton, Amnesty International Kenya Executive Director, said.
Houghton called on the National Assembly and Senate to commission a joint parliamentary inquiry into the rising cases of abductions, forced disappearances, and dumping of bodies in different parts of the country.
“The Cabinet to ratify and implement the International Convention on Protection of All Enforced Disappearances to enhance national and international accountability,” he added
Houghton further called on the establishment of a missing and deceased persons database to preserve DNA and other evidence.
Police Spokesman Bruno Shioso said at the time that a special team from the DCI had been dispatched to the scene to expedite the probe into the incidents.
“In the last two years, nineteen (19) incidences involving human bodies that have been found dumped in River Yala have been reported to the National Police Service. This number represents a cumulative body count over the stated period contrary to media reports insinuating all the incidences are a recent occurrence,” he stated.