ONLY BONES LEFT

Remains of two men abducted by suspected Shabaab militants in Lamu found in forest

The bodies had been mauled by wild animals leaving only a few bones which enabled their identification.

In Summary

• Macharia said police are planning to have the remains moved since their location is an operation zone.

• The manner of their deaths has yet to be identified due to the extensive state of decomposition of the bodies but police suspect they were killed on the same day and their bodies dumped in the forest by their captors.

The remains of two wine tappers who were abducted by suspected al Shabaab militants at Kibokoni area in Hindi, Lamu west eight days ago have been found.
The remains of two wine tappers who were abducted by suspected al Shabaab militants at Kibokoni area in Hindi, Lamu west eight days ago have been found.
Image: THE STAR

The remains of two wine tappers who were abducted by suspected al Shabaab militants at Kibokoni area in Hindi, Lamu west eight days ago have been found.

Lamu county commissioner Irungu Macharia confirmed that the remains of Simon Munyoki 47 and Katana Mulewa Karisa 60, were discovered by a group of locals who alerted security officers on Friday.

The bodies had been mauled by wild animals leaving only a few bones that enabled their identification.

Macharia said police are planning to have the remains moved since their location is an operation zone.

The manner of their deaths has yet to be identified due to the extensive state of decomposition of the bodies but police suspect they were killed on the same day and their bodies dumped in the forest by their captors.

“We were informed that locals stumbled upon the remains suspected to be of the two individuals who were abducted on January 5. We plan to have them removed and given to their families in due time,” said Macharia.

A group of palm wine brewers who were checking their wine traps in the forest stumbled upon the remains and rushed to inform local administrators and the police on January 9, four days after the two men were abducted by suspected militia.

Locals have however disputed the police version that the remains were found on Friday saying they were actually discovered on January 9.

The wine brewers said the police didn’t immediately follow them back into the forest to identify the remains on January 9 and as such the widow of one of the deceased men, Katana Mulewa accompanied them back into the forest to identify if indeed the remains belonged to her husband.

She was also accompanied by Muoki’s sister Catherine Mutindi.

REMAINS IDENTIFIED

The widow Sidi Keah Gona said she was able to positively identify her husband’s remains through his personal effects which included his hat, clothes and a clutch bag that he always carried with him.

“It was just a few bones remaining. But I saw his shirt, trousers and his favorite cap. I also found his clothes bag on him and it still had all his identification documents. I knew it was him,” said Sidi.

Mutindi said she was able to identify her brother through his personal effects.

“His trouser still had his ID intact together with the clothes he wore that day. I knew it was him," she said.

The two families have however been forbidden to touch or carry away the remains and instead wait for the police to do so.

The families have accused police and security officers of laxity in handling the whole matter considering they were informed about the remains several days ago.

“The police say we should wait for them to carry out the remains but they haven’t even set foot there. They even told us to go and identify the bodies ourselves when we reported,” said Sidi.

County commissioner Macharia however said considering the area is under a security operation, it wouldn’t be tactical for the police to approach such an area carelessly.

“Yes, we were informed earlier on about the remains but we are making plans on how to safely go in and retrieve the bodies. We need a plan and can’t walk into such a place carelessly. We call for patience from the families,” said Macharia.

Initially, three men, all wine tappers, had been abducted by the militants at around 5 pm before one of them was able to break loose and fled from his captors and reported the incident to the police.

They were captured as they went to check their wine traps inside the Boni forest when they came face to face with the militants who then took them captive.

Edited by D Tarus