NO COURT ORDERS

Five held over exhumation of Kakamega staff to recover uniforms

Found dead at Eburinde village in Butere subcounty on August 7 and buried same night.

In Summary

• Police are investigating the source of the exhumation orders within the county government.

• The body had been buried at night in accordance with the Luhya traditions.

Residents gather around Martin Alukoye's grave after his colleagues exhumed his coffin to recover county uniforms.
Residents gather around Martin Alukoye's grave after his colleagues exhumed his coffin to recover county uniforms.
Image: HILTON OTENYO

Police in Kakamega have arrested three county staff and an assistant chief who allegedly exhumed the body of a youth service staff to recover his official uniform. 

Martin Alukoye, an employee of the newly-formed Kakamega County Youth Service was found dead at Eburinde village in Butere subcounty on August 7.

Alukoye's body was collected on Saturday from St Mary’s mission hospital mortuary and buried that night in accordance with the Luhya traditions.

The body was fully dressed in a green uniform, boots, service cap, whistle and a lanyard — attire he used to wear daily for work.

Under the Luhya traditions, a person who commits suicide or drowns is buried at night to cast the bad spirits from the bereaved family. 

Alukoye's case was treated as such as he was suspected to have drowned.

The family said the county administrator returned to the home on Monday and demanded the uniforms.

This then led to the exhumation of the body and stripping it of his attire and boots before reburying it again.

Yesterday, police arrested two supervisors of the County Youth Service and three recruits who allegedly participated in the exhumation without a court order.

Butere policy boss Julius Achuka said Ituti sub location assistant chief Daniel Namai was also under interrogation.

Namai is said to have witnessed the burial, exhumation and reburial without reporting to police.

“Those who will be found culpable will be charged with interfering with the dead,” Achuka said.

He said that three family members had also recorded statements over the matter

The police boss said that they were also investigating the source of the exhumation orders within the county government.

“We have two of their supervisors and they will tell us who directed that the body be exhumed for the uniform,” Achuka said.

He said that one must obtain a court order before any exhumation of a dead body for whatever reason.

Former area MCA Habil Bushuru said that the family will have to slaughter a cow to cleanse the family and give another cow to Alukoye's uncles.

The belief is that more family members would die the same way unless the bad omen is cast away.

(edited by O. Owino)