DEATH IN POLICE CELL

Chief pathologist conducts second autopsy on Bamba girl

First autopsy conducted on Thursday by Kilifi county hospital pathologist Ruth Nyangi

In Summary

•Body had marks on the neck similar to someone who committed suicide

•Investigation to be conducted to establish origin of several marks on legs and hands

Protesters on Friday 7 in Bamba demanding answers of how Margaret Masha, 17, died in a police cell
CALL FOR JUSTICE: Protesters on Friday 7 in Bamba demanding answers of how Margaret Masha, 17, died in a police cell
Image: ELIAS YAA

A second autopsy was conducted on Saturday on the body of Margaret Masha who died in a police cell at Bamba police station.

Chief government pathologist Johansen Oduor conducted the postmortem. The first autopsy was conducted on Thursday by Kilifi county hospital pathologist Ruth Nyangi.

The findings of the first autopsy are yet to be released.

 
 

Masha, 17, was 26 weeks pregnant with a baby girl. She was found dead in a cell at Bamba police station on Tuesday, February 4.

The death led to one of the biggest protests to be witnessed in Kilifi county. Several people were injured during confrontations with police while 15 people were arrested.

Journalists who sought to witness the postmortem were denied access.

Reporters were also temporarily blocked from the final briefing to the family and other interested parties after the autopsy.

They were allowed after Muslim for Human Rights rapid response officer Francis Auma intervened and said journalists should attend the briefing but should not record anything.

Haki Africa deputy executive director Salma Hemed consoles Joyce Masha, mother to Margaret Masha who was found dead in a cell at Bamba police station
TRAGEDY: Haki Africa deputy executive director Salma Hemed consoles Joyce Masha, mother to Margaret Masha who was found dead in a cell at Bamba police station
Image: ELIAS YAA

After giving a preliminary verbal report to the family, Oduor hurriedly briefed the media.

He said the body had cyanosis, which was an indication that she lacked oxygen.

 
 

“We have conducted a repeat autopsy on the body of Margaret and we have seen marks on the neck which are similar to what we see when someone commits suicide. There were however other marks on the hands and legs which were difficult to establish how they came about. We have left the investigation open for further analysis to establish where all these marks came from,” Oduor said.

One of those who witnessed the autopsy said the head had two clots, one on the back and another on the left side. The bleeding, he said, did not affect the brain.

“The neck had nail marks and her clothes were torn on the back. Her underwear had blood stains which came from her private parts. Her dress too had blood stains. It was like she was defiled severally then they used her dress to wipe her private parts,” said the witness who spoke on confidence.

The shoes Masha wore while in the cell had scratch marks.

Auma from Muhuri who witnessed the process called on the police to speed up investigations.

He also castigated the Independent Policing Oversight Authority IPOA for the slow pace of their investigations.

“We are happy that the chief pathologist has come to do this autopsy. We are confident justice will be served. We want him to speed up the investigations so that we can push the government to act. Espino died in a police cell in Changamwe and its two years and the case has not even began in court. Kazungu Katana was killed by the police in Kilifi and the case is dragging in Malindi. We have so many cases of police brutality in Kilifi and we want justice,” Auma said.

Fikirini Jacobs, a resident of Bamba, expressed fears that the autopsy was just a formality.

“We have had cases of murders of senior people in government whose autopsies are still top secret. We fear that this might be just be one of those cases where we will wait for eternity to get the report,” Jacobs said.

 Masha will be laid to rest on Saturday in her Nzovuni home