Seven more bodies retrieved from River Yala, total rises to 39
Seven more bodies have been retrieved from the infamous River Yala in Gem, Siaya County, eight months after the river grabbed global news headlines for being a dumping site for dead bodies.
A report by Citizen TV on Monday, September 19, pointed out that the latest retrieved bodies were taken to Yala Sub-County Mortuary, where they are waiting for identification.
This now brings the total number of bodies retrieved from the River Yala to 39.
“We have seven unclaimed bodies. Three of these bodies were collected from River Yala based on the police report, and the remaining four are bodies collected from the community along the river,” said Dr Bruno Okal, Yala Sub-County’s Medical Superintendent.
“Out of the unclaimed bodies, six are male while the remaining is female,” he added.
According to the Citizen TV report, some of the bodies were found with ropes still tied around their necks, with some of their fingers either missing or severely burned, pointing to attempts to erase their identities.
River Yala first made headlines in January after HAKI Africa, a human rights organization, blew the whistle over the grim discoveries made in the waterway.
In the days that followed the organization’s publications, more bodies were found, some thinned to the bone.
Locals at the time said they had noticed the bodies occasionally and filed reports with police authorities, but nothing was ever done.
The highlighting of the story by rights groups and the media prompted a rush from across the country as tens of families trooped to Siaya County in search of their loved ones who had gone missing for lengthy periods of time.
Some were successful in finding their long lost kin, others did not find theirs, and yet still, some bodies could not be identified easily due to the nature of bodily degeneration.
The disheartening development again puts the spotlight on Kenyan security officials, with pledges to increase security in the region seemingly not fulfilled.
In January, Police spokesman Bruno Shioso said a team from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations had been dispatched to Yala to probe the killings. Updates on the investigation have however not been forthcoming.
For now, more families may be preparing to troop back to Yala in hope of finding their long lost loved ones.
Missing Voices will stay on this case, and will continue to push the police to act faster and decisively to get to the cause of the deaths of the many Kenyans dumped in River Yala.
We reiterate our constant call for the criminalization of enforced disappearances and an end to all irregular police arrests.