Sixteen mutilated bodies retrieved from the Tana River in Garissa County over the last 3 months are yet to be identified.
Families of persons who disappeared as far back as 2014 trooped to the Garissa Referral Hospital Mortuary on Monday with the hopes of identifying the bodies of their loved ones, but none of the families were lucky because nearly all the bodies have decomposed.
Medics, as well as human rights groups now want DNA tests conducted and thorough investigations done in order to ascertain the identity of the victims.
Ahmed Farah’s family came to the Garissa referral hospital mortuary to identify the body of their brother. Their brother has been missing since 2014. Farah’s daughter came here together with her uncle after the Garissa Security personnel urged locals to come and identify 11 bodies that had been retrieved from the Tana River.
Inside the morgue, Farah’s family joined other locals who had also come for the same exercise. The mutilated bodies, some with rotten flesh have been refrigerated here for several weeks after being retrieved by divers from the Tana River. But none of the relatives could identify their loved ones.
“We came here in the morning in search of my brother Ahmed Farah… he went missing in 2014,” said the brother
The morgue in Garissa is completely full, and five other bodies retrieved between Sunday and Monday have been transferred to Nairobi.
Members of a human rights organisation who have been in Garissa for the exercise say the most alarming thing is the state in which the bodies were found. Most of them had been tied by ropes and rocks in an apparent move to completely submerge them.
“It is clear the bodies were immersed into water after killing because none of the bodies shows signs of bloating which is a sign of drowning,” says Kinyanjui Thuo, official KNHCR.
The humans rights group has also intimated that investigations must be done before the bodies can be disposed.
For the families, this means providing DNA samples to assist in identification.
For the relatives this means more psychological torture as they will have to wait longer before the identification can be done.
Still, more Kenyans who could have lost their loved ones and have not seen their remains have been urged to visit the Garissa Morgue in order to help in the identification exercise.
And as the exercise drags on, residents have been informed that there is no more space to store bodies at the mortuary.
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