DPP, DCI wrangles linked to delayed probe into River Yala bodies saga

Diver Nicholas Okero Okite at River Yala in Gem Siaya County 21 bodies have recently been retrieved. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

Gem MP Elisha Odhiambo has accused investigative authorities of taking too long to address cases of dumping after 19 bodies were retrieved from River Yala. 

Police spokesman Bruno Shioso in a statement on Wednesday said a special forensic team from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations was dispatched to probe the incident.

Shioso said the bodies had been dumped in the river for the past two years.

MP Odhiambo yesterday said despite the matter causing unease among residents, security agencies are yet to make any arrests.

"It does not make sense to have the DCI and the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions take this long to investigate," he said during a press conference at Parliament Buildings.

The lawmaker said continued supremacy wrangles between the DCI and the DPP have stalled investigations into the dumping of the bodies. 

“The war between the DCI and the DPP has jeopardised the war against extrajudicial killings. The two agencies need to shelf their differences and end the menace," Odhiambo said. 

In recent weeks, 21 bodies were retrieved from River Yala, which is now being viewed as a dumping ground for victims of murder and forced disappearances.

On Thursday, two bodies were identified by relatives at the Yala Sub-County morgue. Odhiambo said the bodies may have been ferried from other counties and dumped in the river.

The bodies show evidence of torture.

"It is puzzling how individuals would travel for hours with bodies from different parts of the country, especially in the Rift Valley, to come and dump them into River Yala," Odhiambo said.

“There are so many security inspection points on the way to Yala, whichever route you take. How have these individuals escaped these points without being arrested?"

He added that the discovery of the bodies raises health concerns for residents who depend on water from the river for domestic and animal use.

Locals who use water from the river are from Gem Yala, Gem Wagai, Bondo, Alego Usonga and Khwisero.

Since Thursday, distraught families whose relatives went missing have been camping at the Yala mortuary to identify the bodies. Police say some of the victims could be from far-flung areas.