Six people whose bodies were found dumped in a thicket in Arabal, Baringo South last week were tortured before being shot dead, a post-mortem has revealed.
The examination was carried out on Thursday at the Baringo County Referral Hospital in Kabarnet by County Pathologist Wangare Wambui and Titus Ngulungu, who was supervising the exercise on behalf of the Independent Medico Legal Unit (IMLU).
The bodies of Paul Kosgei (TSC human resource officer in Tiaty), Nelson Kordado (primary school head teacher), Brian Silale (electoral agency official), David Kukat (medical student), Kanga Siareng (businessman) and an unidentified young man who is said to have been a boda boda rider, were retrieved from a thicket in Arabal on January 20 riddled with gunshot wounds.
This was after they were allegedly bundled into a Land Cruiser by plainclothes officers at Chemolingot in Tiaty sub-county.
Dr Wambui said the results on the six bodies revealed that they were killed in a similar manner, as they all had gunshot wounds on their heads.
“The pattern of the injuries was similar and all had multiple gunshot wounds ranging from six to 10 shots. But the fatal wounds were to the head, which were blown off either at contact or close range,” said Dr Wambui.
She noted there were multiple gunshot injuries to various parts of the body and that most of them were from the back.
“Apart from the gunshots, there were other injuries on their bodies, including incision wounds. Some of them had fractures on their hands, which had been twisted. It seems that they were tortured before they died,” she explained.
Human rights activist David Kuria, who witnessed the exercise on behalf of the IMLU, condemned the manner in which the six were killed and appealed to the government to investigate and prosecute those behind the heinous act.
“We want the families of the slain people to get justice because the post-mortem examination has revealed that they were tortured before being shot dead. Proper investigations should be carried out to ascertain why they had to die in such a manner,” said Mr Kuria.
The incident occurred against the backdrop of an ongoing security operation to mop up illegal guns and flush out armed criminals, after a GSU operation commander, Emadau Tabakol, was killed in Ameyan two weeks ago.
Rift Valley Regional Coordinator George Natembeya, however, has disputed claims of extra-judicial killings, noting the six might have been involved in livestock theft that occurred in Arabal.
He told the Nation that there was a bandit attack in the porous Chemorong'ion area in Baringo South, the same day that saw more than 50 cows driven away by some armed criminals suspected to be from neighbouring Tiaty Sub-county.
"As you are aware, there was a bandit attack in Chemorong’ion that saw more than 50 cows being driven away by armed criminals. Security officers pursued the attackers to recover the stolen livestock," said Mr Natembeya.
"There was a fierce gun battle between the bandits and the security officers. Anyone found dead in the area might have been either a police officer or a bandit, " he added.
The civil society has called on the government to allow humanitarian aid, including food and medical supplies, to be provided to families in the areas where the intensive security operation is taking place.
The have also asked the security agencies to allow the media to access the area and independently report on the ongoing operation.
Led by Baringo civil society chairman Philip Tomno, the activists expressed concern on the goings-on in Kapedo.
Baringo civil society forum activist, Evans Kibet, appealed for assistance for vulnerable groups, including people living with disabilities, the aged, women and children caught up in the security operation.