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River Yala: Details Of Businessman’s Body Found After Expose

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Two families on Thursday, January 20 identified bodies belonging to their missing kin from the 21 bodies recovered from River Yala, Siaya County after reports surfaced on the shocking scenarios of people killed and dumped in the river.

The family of 37-year-old Philemon Cheruiyot was among the first to identify his body at the Yala Sub-County Hospital mortuary following media reports regarding the bodies in the river.

Cheruiyot and his best friend Peter Kio Matuku left Nairobi for Kipkelion, Kericho County on December 2, 2021. Ben Chepkwony, the deceased’s elder brother, revealed that they had hired a saloon car driven by one Edu and travelled to the county in a group of four people.

Ben Chepkwony and Meshack Chepkwony at Yala Police Station after they identified the body of their missing brother at Yala Sub-County Hospital mortuary in Siaya County. /DAILY NATION

Cheruiyot’s wife became worried when his phone calls went unanswered, prompting her to reach out to his brothers to confirm if they had reached Kipkelion, but to no avail.

They would later be stunned to learn that the car they were travelling in was abandoned in Gilgil, forcing them to comb the mortuaries of Nairobi, Nakuru and Karura forest in a desperate attempt to find them.

Upon visiting the Yala Sub-County hospital mortuary, they broke down upon spotting the body which had his wedding ring and bracelet branded in Kenyan flag colours. Matuku’s body was also discovered with hands tied behind his back.

Cheruiyot has left behind three widows, one in Kericho and two in Nairobi. The owner of an electronic shop in Embakasi and a supermarket on Kangundo Road, according to his family, had not informed them that he was in trouble.

“He never told us his life was in danger and never had a problem with anyone. I wonder why his killers tortured him; his hands were tied and he had stab wounds in the abdomen,” Meshack, his younger brother, revealed to the Nation.

The family’s discovery emerged as four other families back at the hospital continue their search for their missing kin amongst the pile of bodies lying at the mortuary.

The National Police Service (NPS) has since dispatched a forensics team to Yala as detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) establish the identity of 19 bodies retrieved from the Yala River that are unclaimed.

Police spokesperson Bruno Isohi Shioso in a statement dismissed media reports claiming that the 19 bodies were retrieved from the river in the past two months, clarifying that they were removed in the last two years.

“This number presents a cumulative body count over two years, contrary to media reports insinuating all the incidents were a recent occurrence,” Shioso said in a statement on social media.

Activists Boniface Mwangi and Hussein Khalid of Haki Africa exposed the daunting murders which prompted Kenyans to use the hashtag #RiverYalaBodies to call upon Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai to investigate the matter that has since led to public uproar.

Mwangi took to Twitter to share a thread detailing his visit to Yala Sub County Hospital mortuary where the duo saw 21 bodies listed as unknown, waiting to be buried in mass graves.

Activist Boniface Mwangi. /FILE

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