Police claim 19 bodies retrieved from River Yala

Police Spokesperson Bruno Shioso says the 19 bodies were retrieved across two years. [File, Standard]

Police claim that 19 bodies have been retrieved from River Yala in Siaya County in the last two years, contrary to reports that there could be more. 

“The number represents a cumulative body count over two years, contrary to media reports insinuating all the incidents are a recent occurrence,” Police spokesperson Bruno Shioso said in a statement on Wednesday, January 19.

Shioso says most of the bodies remain preserved at the Yala Sub-County Hospital morgue because they haven’t been identified and that no relative has come out to claim them.

“To speed up the identification of the victims and other forensic investigations, a special forensic investigations team from the DCI Headquarters has been dispatched to the scene at River Yala and the Yala Sub-County Hospital to assist with further investigations,” said Shioso.

Pressure mounted on police this week on social media after “River Yala floating bodies” caused an uproar among online users.

Gem residents, who spoke to The Standard, said they had retrieved several bodies from the river in the last couple of months.

Most of the bodies were found stashed in sacks, and had deep cut injuries, the locals said.

Nicholas Okite Okero, a resident, said since August 2021, they have removed at least 30 bodies from the river.

Nyanza County CEC for Health, Dismas Odhiambo Wakla, said at least 14 unclaimed bodies have been preserved at the Yala Hospital.