Kenya owes Yala residents an apology for River Yala distress
Wednesday, 5th April 2023
Kenya owes residents of Yala in Siaya County Siaya an apology for the distress enforced on them by the dumping of bodies into Yala River, according to Irũngũ Houghton, the Executive Director – Amnesty Kenya.
Irũngũ made the remarks at Missing Voices Coalition’s 2022 report launch for police killings and enforced disappearances.
“The entire nation owes the good people of Yala an apology. It has been 14 months since we were here to document people floating down rivers and to document what must have been one of the most outrageous injustices of the Jubilee administration,” he said.
Irũngũ recapped the months-long retrievals of dead bodies dumped into River Yala and the impact it had on Yala residents as well as Kenyans at large.
The retrievals grabbed the country’s attention after human rights organizations and activists called out security agencies for not doing anything to stop the trend, which seemed to point to their possible involvement.
In its report, Missing Voices Coalition said at least 40 bodies had been retrieved from the river, all in different states.
Irũngũ used the opportunity to affirm Missing Voices Coalition’s resolve to continue pushing for an end to police killings and enforced disappearances, and for all rogue state security agents to be held accountable for crimes committed in the name of their badges.
“We rededicate ourselves not just to document the abuses but to find people who are responsible for disgracing our nation,” the Amnesty Kenya Executive Director said.
Missing Voices was unable to add the River Yala bodies to the 2022 records of police killings because the investigations are ongoing.
Dubbed Accountability Now, the report states that 152 people were killed in 2022 by police officers.
“We are calling for expedited investigations into these cases to bring relief to the families affected and accountability to the perpetrators of these heinous crimes,” the report appealed.
The report launch was graced by various governmental, non-governmental and human rights organizations and individuals, including HAKI Africa Executive Director Hussein Khalid and the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) CEO Elema Halake.