Police Investigating Bodies Dumped in Western Kenya

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Kenyan police say they are sending investigators to the Yala River in western Kenya, where locals have been finding bodies tied up in sacks.

The Yala River in western Kenya has become the center of attention for human rights workers and families of missing persons.

Local residents say five bodies have been found in the river this month alone, including one discovered Wednesday.

Nicholas Okero is among the divers who have retrieved bodies from the river.

“The bodies are tied up tightly, like a parcel, in a sack. And since July, we’ve got nobody from our area who has reported a missing person,” he said. “Just the other day, I retrieved the bodies of two Somali men again and those people do not reside here. I don’t know where they were killed.”

Okero said he identified the two bodies as Somali based on their physical features. Authorities have yet to determine the identities of any of the people found.

In a statement, local police said the five bodies are among 19 discovered in the river over the last two years. Police say no one has come forward to claim the bodies.

Salome Nduta is the director of Haki Africa, an organization working to promote human rights and justice in Kenya. Her organization visited River Yala and the Yala hospital mortuary Monday.

“When we got to Yala, we went straight to the morgue where we discovered 21 unknown bodies. Most of the bodies were tied up, others were found in sacks and others seemed to have deep cuts. Still, we had some bodies which had polythene on their heads,” she said.

On Wednesday, after the discovery of the five bodies, dozens of family members of missing persons trooped to Yala in Siaya County.

Ismail Okumu, 55, a farmer from Mumias town in western Kenya, is one of them. He is looking for his brother, who was abducted by armed men 18 months ago.

“I am at Yala mortuary searching for my brother’s body. He was arrested on August 10, 2020, at 1 pm. I have never found him. I have searched in all mortuaries but I never found him. Whenever I hear there are bodies found somewhere, I go there,” he said.

Bodies have turned up in other Kenyan rivers under mysterious circumstances. Last September, 11 bodies were recovered in the Tana River in Garissa County.

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