Bodies may have been moved from mass graves in Kenya to prevent an investigation into a suspected slaughter of villagers during inter-tribal unrest in the Tana River region, police said.
The suspected graves were found on Monday in Kilelengwani village, the focus of fighting in the coastal area that has killed more than 100 people in the past three weeks, including nine police officers.
The Kenya Red Cross said at least 20 people believed to have been killed were still unaccounted for, and they suspected their bodies had been buried in the graves.
Regional police chief Aggrey Adoli said only a human foot and human skin had been found after two hours of digging, however.
“The whole place appeared freshly dug and was exuding the stench of rotten flesh ... we all were surprised when nothing was found. Those who removed the bodies must have been striving to hide some evidence,” he said by telephone late on Thursday.
“It is possible that the graves might have been tampered with and bodies removed before police arrived at the scene to seal it off,” Adoli said.