• What is worrying more is that the practice of dumping tortured and mutilated bodies in Tsavo is not condemned by the authorities or even investigated.
• Police remain mum and content with just picking bodies and sending them to nearby morgues.
This week, Haki Africa and Human Development Agenda worked with families from Kwale county who had their sons forcefully disappeared towards the end of last year and their bodies dumped at Tsavo National Park.
A day earlier, the family of Juma Sarai from Kwale had travelled to Makindu where they positively identified his body. After clearing with the police and hospital authorities, they were allowed to take away the body for burial.
When the news went out that there were other unknown bodies at the morgue in Makindu, it was as expected, an antenna raising signal to many families at the Coast whose sons had been taken away by unknown persons in the last few years. As is the practice, the families contacted Haki Africa and HUDA who jointly organised a trip for over 10 families to travel to Makindu.
On Saturday morning, the families converged outside the mortuary and requested to view the unknown bodies. The morgue had 30 unclaimed bodies. Some had an identity on them and others were children and foetus. About eight were of male African decent and unknown. It is these eight that were of interest to the families. After a brief discussion, the morgue attendant agreed to remove the bodies for viewing by family members.
Initially, three bodies were removed and displayed and one could feel an aura of sadness and gloom. They were in a horrifying state. It was clearly visible that they had been tortured severely. The faces were dark and the skin with blisters all over signifying burns. They had strangulation marks on the necks and some of their hands were tied with ropes. The mouths had been gagged with papers and pieces of clothes, while the lips were covered with plastic tape. It appeared they had undergone immense suffering at the hands of their tormentors.
One by one, the families took close scrutiny of the bodies and yes, one by one they started identifying them as their own. The features were exactly as they knew their kins. They looked out for marks on the bodies that would assure them it was their sons. All the marks were there, including on the faces, heads and limbs. Without a doubt, the three bodies were positively identified and tears began to roll down the cheeks of the relatives who were present.
Besides Juma Said Sarai, who was earlier identified by his family, Khalfan Linuku, Abdalla Nassir Gatana and Usama Nassir were also identified. The three were picked on various dates between November and December 2019 from their home areas.
A somber mood engulfed the morgue as one could visibly see the mixed feeling from the family members, who despite being sad at the horrible loss of their sons, also somehow felt relieved to finally know their fate.
From the morgue records, the bodies were picked in various parts of the Tsavo National Park. Unfortunately, this was not the first time this was happening. Tens of other bodies have been picked in the past, including high profile cases such as those of Meshack Yebei and Samir Khan. They, too, had torture marks and their bodies dumped at the park. Tsavo National Park has now become a dumping site of tortured and mutilated bodies. It has become the Tsavo National cemetery.
What is worrying more is that the practice of dumping tortured and mutilated bodies in Tsavo is not condemned by the authorities or even investigated. Despite everyone knowing the park is prone to abuse by killers and murderers, the authorities seem to care less. Police remain mum and content with just picking bodies and sending them to nearby morgues. Most of the bodies don’t even get their fingerprints taken to try and identify them as the law requires.
The time has come for Kenyans to call for an end to torture and murder. If any individual, police or otherwise, tortures and kills other Kenyans intentionally in the name of security, then we must tell them that they don’t do it for us.
As Kenyans, we must at all be guided by the rule of law. Torture and murder in Kenya must end now!