Funeral of KDF soldier aborts after DNA mix-up

Some of the mourners at David Gitonga’s funeral at Twale Village on February 6, 2016. It did not take place. PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Mr Rinu told Nation that samples taken from his other children did not match with that of the body they identified.
  • The family conducted a ritual at the empty grave on Saturday night.

  • Cpl Gitonga joined the military in 2006. He is married with two sons.

Plans to bury a soldier killed in Somalia hit a snag when the family was told that DNA samples did not match the body.

Mr Salesio Rinu from Twale Village, Meru County, was to bury his second born son, David Gitonga, 35, on Saturday.

He told the Nation on Sunday that samples taken from his other children did not match with that of the body they identified.

The family conducted a ritual at the empty grave on Saturday night. Mr Rinu said the grave would be filled since his son’s body had not been found.

Corporal Gitonga’s uncle, also the county Education executive, Dr Kaberia Limuki, said the family was yet to come to terms with the news. He said information received from the military was scanty and of little help.

“I believe he is still alive. The government should speed up investigations and tell us what happened,” said Dr Limuki.

Cpl Gitonga joined the military in 2006. He is married with two sons.

On Saturday, Alex Mwiti was laid to rest at his home in Muthara, bringing the number of soldiers buried in Meru County to three.

In Osupuko village, Trans Mara West, the family of Elias Kirionki had been patiently awaiting his return.

A missed call three days after the El Adde attack gave them hope. His wife Magdalene Kirionki was excited.

It was not to be. Sunday, the family received news that Kirionki was killed. The shocking news was received from the Kenya Defence Forces headquarters.

His remains were traced to the War Memorial Hospital mortuary.

Hundreds of villagers flocked the homestead Sunday. Former minister Julius Sunkuli was among the mourners.             

In Bomet, Governor Isaac Ruto called for the return of soldiers serving in Somalia. He said the mission was only creating widows and orphans.

“If warlords and clans are not ready for peace, our soldiers should come back,” said  the governor at Kapkesosio Primary School in Chepalungu Constituency during a campaign rally for Mr Andrew Maritim, the candidate for Peoples Patriotic Party of Kenya, who is running for the Nyangores Ward February 12 by-election.

Reported by Darlington Manyara, Ruth Mbula and Geoffrey Rono

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