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Police issue statement on River Yala bodies, deny the number reported

A special forensic investigations team has been dispatched to River Yala

Police Spokesperson Bruno Shioso at the podium during a past press briefing

National Police Service spokesperson Bruno Shioso has issued a statement on the trending tag #RiverYalaBodies, stating that at least 19 bodies have been retrieved from the river in the past 2 years.

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The spokesperson insisted that the number highlighted by human rights watch groups did not match with the government's tally.

“In the last two years, nineteen incidents involving human bodies that have been found dumped in River Yala have been reported to the National Police Service.

"This number represents a cumulative body count over the stated period of time contrary to media reports insinuating all the incidents are recent occurrence,” read part of the statement.

Shioso added that a special forensic investigations team from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters has been dispatched to River Yala, and that the Yala Sub-County Level 4 hospital would help with identification of victims.

“To speed up identification of the victims and other forensic investigations, a special forensic team from the DCI headquarters has been dispatched to River Yala and the Yala Sub-County Level 4 hospital to assist with further investigations,” the statement adds.

The police statement come hours after Hakika Africa Executive Director Hussein Khalid, wrote to the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji, requesting for investigations into the River Yala bodies horror.

“To our dismay, we confirmed that indeed there are tens of unknown bodies that have been retrieved from the river. On visiting the local morgue, we counted at least 21 bodies which the mortuary confirmed were from the river. Some of the bodies were tied with ropes, others had deep cuts and others had polythene bags on the heads," read part of the letter addressed to the DPP.

On Monday, human rights activist Boniface Mwangi documented his findings on the alarming story in a Twitter thread.

On the thread, Mwangi reported that at least 31 bodies have been retrieved from River Yala since July 2021 - which is half the time outlined by the police spokesperson.

Since July 2021 Okero has removed 31 bodies from River Yala. On 10th October 2021 Okero retrieved 10 bodies. Each of the 10 bodies were in individual sacks, and in his own words, “each body was neatly packed and sealed like a parcel.

“On 20th October 2021, Yala Mortuary buried 9 unidentified bodies to create space in the morgue. Since then, the hospital receives atleast five bodies from River Yala every month. We visited the mortuary with @husskhalid @HakiAfrica and what we saw shocked us.

“At Yala mortuary we saw 21 bodies listed as 'unknown men'. Most of them bore marks of torture, tied with ropes, polythene bags on their heads and some had deep cuts. The bodies are decomposing fast and it’s likely they will be buried in a mass grave very soon,” reads a series of tweets form Boniface Mwangi.

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