International Body Gives Matiang'i Conditions Over River Yala Bodies

  • River Yala
    Nicholas Okero, a diver who has been helping police to retrieve bodies from River Yala on January 17, 2022
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    Boniface Mwangi
  • Amnesty International (AI) wants Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i to act on the recent reports detailing how dead bodies were dumped in River Yala. Amnesty is a global organisation tasked with protecting human rights across the world through demonstrations, letter-writing campaigns, awareness initiatives and vigils.

    The report on River Yala was brought to the fore by human rights organisation, Haki Africa and activist Boniface Mwangi. It revealed that over 21 mutilated bodies were thrown into the river in the last six months.

    The International organization, in a statement issued on Saturday, August 22, urged CS Matiang’i to urgently institute a comprehensive public post mortem for each body and preserve evidence in line with the best standards for forensic identification and preservation of human remains.

    “Given the numbers involved and public interest, this must be carried out by a team of forensic specialists in pathology, radiology, anthropology, odontology, Government Chemist officials among others, not just photographers and investigators,” read part of a statement by the organization’s subsidiary in Kenya, signed by its Executive Director Houghton Irungu.

    Boniface Mwangi Hussein Khalid
    Haki Africa Executive Director Hussein Khalid (left) and activist Boniface Mwangi visited River Yala in January 2022 after an outcry over dead bodies dumped at the river.
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    Boniface Mwangi

    Amnesty International also implored the Kenya National Commission for Human Rights (KNCHR) and Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) to independently have a keen interest in the matter.

    The Attorney General was further asked to publicly inform the nation why the State Law Office has not established an impartial coroner service five years after President Uhuru Kenyatta assented to the National Coroners Service Act (2017).

    A coroner is a government empowered to conduct or order an inquest into the cause of death of a said person and to investigate or confirm the identity of unknown individuals found dead within his or her jurisdiction.

    Moreover, Amnesty demanded the establishment of missing and deceased persons’ databases to preserve DNA and other evidence.

    Amnesty also called upon the National Assembly and Senate to commission a joint parliamentary enquiry into the rising cases of abductions, forced disappearances and dumping of bodies in rivers, forests and parks.

    Kenyans have in the past week taken to social media to raise concern over reports of unidentified bodies retrieved from River Yala, with both police and human rights issuing conflicting reports on the numbers of bodies retrieved. 

    Families have since trooped to the Yala Sub-County Hospital Mortuary in search of their missing kin, with a number positively identifying some of the bodies.

    The organization boasts of more than 8 million supporters, members and activists in over 150 countries and territories.

    Yala Sub County Hospital Mortuary
    The Yala Sub County Hospital Mortuary gate
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    Boniface Mwangi
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