A walk around Ragana village in Migori County is terrifying. A dreadful and hair-raising experience.
Here, you will bump into human bones and skeletons dragged from Lichota cemetery by wild animals. Sometimes, you will find young children playing with the bones, oblivious of the lurking danger.
The cemetery, which is located at the heart of the village, is in a deplorable state. The bodies do not rest in peace as hyenas dig them out and drag them to residents’ homes.
When we visited the cemetery, we spotted human bones, human skulls, and torn clothes from the open shallow graves. It is a horrifying scene. And the smell is nauseating.
Residents say such incidences are very common and they are worried about their health.
“The graves are shallowly dug and hyenas come and dig the bodies out. We wake up to find human bones inside our homesteads. It is scary,” Janet Omuga, a resident said.
Further, the residents, have been forced to live with the nauseating stench of the decomposing bodies.
“We no longer enjoy our sleep. The growling hyenas have made us slaves in our homes. You cannot go outside at night. They have invaded our homes and sometimes, the livestock,” Omuga added.
Pastor Reuben Choga, a villager, says it is saddening to see human bones scattered in the village and worse, children playing with the human bones.
“We are exposing our children to all manner of danger. Sometimes, you will find gloves and torn clothes outside your house. The county government should take action and fence off the cemetery,” said Choga.
John Ahuya, a sand harvester at Migori river, which is a few meters from the cemetery, said that during the rainy season, the situation is worse.
The bodies, sometimes, are washed away and the stench is worse.
“The cemetery has been neglected. No one maintains it. There are no regulations on how bodies should be buried. Most residents come to bury their kin at night,” he said.
In October 2017, residents held protests about the neglect of the cemetery, but no action has ever been taken.
Residents now want the area fenced and guarded to block the wild animals from accessing the area.
They also want guidelines to be put in place on how bodies should be buried at the cemetery.
Maurice Achochi, a nurse, warned that residents are at risk of contracting diseases from the dead bodies and also, developing respiratory infections.
County Health Chief Executive Committee member (CEC) Kephas Nyamita distanced his department from the cemetery, claiming they are not aware of its existence.
The area, he said, was only used for burying unclaimed bodies.
“I am not aware of burials being done in the cemetery. We buried people there a long time ago,” the CEC said.