A traditional Meru circumcision technique could help detectives narrow down their search for the identity of a man whose headless body was found on a dry riverbed in Mati Anduui, Meru County, 19 days ago.
The Nation has learnt that investigators have been informed that the man could have undergone the Tigania cultural circumcision.
The man had been stripped naked and left with a blue sock on his left foot, while one blood-stained left brown shoe and blue underwear lay metres away from the body.
Tigania East police boss Peter Karanja said they suspect the torso and a severed head found on a maize farm in Charuru village, 20km away, belong to one person.
A brown right shoe that was also found at one scene is similar to the one found near the body.
The head, found in shrubs, appeared to have been tossed over the fence from the Muriri-Michimikuru road. A woman who was collecting firewood spotted it.
Also collected on the side of the road, a few metres from the head, was a pair of blood-soaked blue denim trousers and a blue long-sleeved shirt.
The trousers’ left side had been cut from above the knee and had a brown leather belt with the word “boss” inscribed on it.
Mr Karanja said investigators will analyse the man’s fingerprints and find out whether he was registered, while the body parts were taken to the Meru Level Five Hospital mortuary for a postmortem exam and DNA matching.
“We highly believe that this is the same person because even the brown shoes (loafers) are a pair. No one has come forward to report any missing relative but we hope we will establish his identity," Mr Karanja said.
Buuri Chief John Mamira, who was among the first responders to the scene when the headless body was spotted on June 11, agreed that the man was most likely a Meru adult from the Tigania sub-tribe.
“Police should not look far. He is a Tigania man because I know how we circumcise our people. I told the police that they should look for his identity from around Tigania East, West and Central,” he said.
“The man was smartly dressed and probably working-class. He is about 26 to 32 years old, in my assessment.”
Residents were puzzled and shocked by the brutal murder, he said, especially the great lengths the killers went to in an attempt to cover up their tracks.
The killing is believed to have been carried out at the scene where the headless body was found, a torturous terrain teeming with wildlife.
When the Nation visited the murder scene on Tuesday, we spotted fresh elephant dung near the Buathumara and Kiare rivers, where the largest existing land animals invade local farms.
The area has one poorly paved road with rugged igneous rocks and the more remote parts are only accessible by a motorcycle.
Many herders who had built temporary cattle sheds have abandoned them and only visit the area for grazing and then take their livestock home.
“This person must have been brought there by a person or people who know the area well. Only herders and farmers come here,” Chief Mamira said.
“I’m certain that once we identify the deceased, the suspects will be from this area… Maybe the body was left there to be eaten by wild animals.”
Police are also pursuing the theory that it was a contract killing, where it is thought that hitmen carried the head for a long distance “to show it to their client”.