What you need to know:
- Although they went missing in Kajiado, their remains have surfaced in faraway Kiambu and Murang’a counties.
- Two of the bodies were stashed in sacks and dumped in rivers in Murang’a and another in a cold morgue in Kiambu.
For 10 days, the families of four friends who vanished without trace after lunch in Kitengela town have not known peace.
The relatives of Jack Anyango, 37, Elijah Obuong,35, Benjamin Imbai, 30, and Brian Oduor,36, endured long days moving between hospitals, mortuaries and police stations as they searched for their loved ones, in vain.
When nightfall came, they stayed awake, glancing at their mobile phones intermittently in the hope that someone would relieve them of the anxiety.
And on Wednesday evening, Obuong’s mother, Caroline, received a call notifying her that a body that resembled one of the photos that were circulating in the media, was lying at a mortuary in Murang’a after being found dumped in Mukungai River, a tributary of Mathioya River.
At dawn, Obuong’s four relatives travelled more than 115 kilometres to Murang’a County Hospital Mortuary and registered their presence with the receptionists at 10.30am.
In deep thoughts, the few moments they were kept waiting by the mortuary attendant seemed like eternity, but when they were allowed in, the long search for their missing kin came to a screeching, sad end.
Without hesitation, they positively identified Obuong’s body, with a tattoo on his left arm and an inscription “ELLY”, confirming their worst fears.
“They have killed an innocent soul. How could they strangle my brother in cold blood and dump his body in the river?” his younger brother Michael Amollo wailed.
“We have seen on social media that my brother belonged to a criminal gang, but he was probably a good man in bad company,” he added.
Hours later and 46 kilometres away, relatives of Imbai were plunged into mourning after positively identifying his body at General Kago Funeral Home in Thika, Kiambu County.
And in the afternoon, yet another body, suspected to belong to one of the other two missing men was found stashed in a sack and dumped in the same Mathioya River.
The body was 50 metres downstream from where Obuong’s body lay.
The finding of two bodies in Murang’a — a county outside the Disease Infected Zone of Kajiado, Nairobi, Kiambu, Nakuru and Machakos — raises questions and may give clues on their possible killers.
Since the victims’ car was abandoned in Kitengela, their killers most likely had the authority to travel in and out of the five locked down counties.
And while the three bodies were in different stages of decomposition, they all revealed the painful deaths the fallen men suffered at the hands of their killers.
Obuong’s body was naked, while Imbai’s had no shoes and shirt and suffered deep scars on his hands, as if he had been handcuffed by his killers before he was eliminated.
The third man had his hands chopped from the wrists. He had his clothes and jewellery on but his shoes were missing.
Mr Francis Karanja, a sand harvester, said they discovered the body as they scooped sand.
“We were shocked at first, but we combined our efforts to retrieve the body. This river [Mathioya] has turned to be the valley of death. It’s horrifying,” he said.
Residents yesterday told the Nation that at least five bodies have been found at the same spot in the last one year.
The body was later taken and booked at Murang’a County Hospital Mortuary as an unidentified male person.
In Thika, mortuary attendants told the Nation that Imbai’s body was booked in on April 20 at 10.37pm by police officers from Kamwangi Police Station in Gatundu North.
The officers collected the body after receiving a report from a plumber who stumbled on it as he repaired water pipes in Kieni Forest.
Police sources at Kamwangi Police Station told the Nation that Imbai’s neck had bruises — an indication that his killers might have strangled him using bare hands or rope.
And back in Murang’a, a police report on Obuong’s body says officers were notified by sand harvesters of a body stashed in a sack under the bridge of Mukungai River, along the Murang’a-Iyego-Kangema road, on April 20, at 10am.
Police moved the remains to the mortuary at noon and booked it as an unidentified male adult.
Discovery of body
“We saw the body in the morning when we came to harvest sand. The sack was tied on the top but we could tell it was a human body. I suspect the body was dropped from the bridge,” a sand harvester, who requested to remain anonymous said.
Obuong resided at Nazra Garden Estate, Kayole, in Nairobi.
Earlier, his mother had told the Nation her jobless son was last spotted at Kitengela Enkare Club with his friends taking lunch on April 19.
She said her son had no criminal record and that even though he was jobless, he was being supported by the family to raise up his son and live a decent life.
Murang’a criminal investigations boss Daniel Kandie said detectives would collaborate with their Kitengela counterparts in their investigations.
The police said that the investigation would involve unmasking a faceless social media user by the name ‘Erico’ who insinuated via a post on April 20 that the quartet had died.
According to a detective privy to the investigations, police are also analysing mobile phone data in a bid to connect the four victims with the anonymous caller said to have informed one of the families the location of the men’s abandoned car.
Some of the friends are also said to have had run-ins with the police.