Families identify 11 bodies from River Yala

A team of DNA experts at Yala sub-county Hospital Mortuary in Siaya county after collecting samples from the bodies retrieved at River Yala. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

Residents are still visiting Yala Sub-County Hospital morgue for DNA tests to help identify bodies retrieved from River Yala.

However, Gem Deputy County Commissioner Mosero Chacha yesterday said applications are underway to have the court approve the burial of the remaining bodies. 

He said residents and locals from neighbouring areas have not reported recent cases of bodies being dumped in the river.

"We are however still doing DNA tests for families that show up to identify the bodies as we wait for the court," Chacha said.

Local diver Nicholas Okero who has been helping the police previously said he has recovered 30 bodies since last August.

Eleven bodies have so far been identified and picked for burial. 

It is still unclear who dumped the bodies, with authorities saying investigations are underway.

Chacha said three family members had DNA tests conducted a week ago and are waiting to identify their relatives.

“Twenty-seven bodies retrieved from River Yala underwent postmortem. One body is currently at the Siaya county referral hospital morgue while the rest are still at Yala," he said.

A local diver, Jonathan Okite, who also helped in retrieving the bodies said some were stuffed in sacks.

Others had deep cuts, ropes around necks, or fingers either severed or burnt in what authorities believe was meant to erase identity.

A statement from the police said only 19 bodies have been retrieved from River Yala in the last two years, contrary to reports that there could be more.

Yesterday, Siaya Health executive Dismas Wakla said 15 bodies are yet to be identified. 

“In total, we have 26 bodies in our morgues. Eleven have been identified and collected while 15 are yet to be collected,” he said.