19 September 2012

Kenya: Bodies of Two Drowned Children Found in Tana

Photo: Capital FM
Security forces on patrol: The bodies of two children, aged 15 and 10, were retrieved from a river after they drowned while fleeing security forces (file photo).

Two children drowned in River Tana on Monday as they fled to escape being arrested by security forces who have been deployed to pacify the region.

Bodies of the children aged 15 and 10 were retrieved from the river on Wednesday and buried at Ozi village.

"These are the children who drowned as they escaped being arrested. Their bodies have been retrieved and buried," a police source said, requesting anonymity.

Villagers told police they saw the two children try to cross the river when contingents of heavily armed GSU officers advanced to their home.

"The incident is unfortunate," the officer said.

Coast Province police chief Aggrey Adoli did not comment on the matter.

The officers had responded to a fire that was set on some 20 houses when the incident occurred.

Meanwhile, police are on Thursday to exhume bodies from two mass graves discovered in the area on Monday night.

"We obtained the court order and the exercise will take place tomorrow," Adoli said.

A police source in the region told us they believe the bodies belong to Pokomos who "must have carried their people who were killed in the battle when they attacked their Orma neighbours."

"We have been told that they never leave their people behind when they are killed, they could carry bodies and we believe these are the ones in the mass graves," he said, adding "the others might be people from the other community who were either abducted and killed or were found around this area and killed in revenge attacks."

A team of pathologists has already been dispatched to the coastal region to assist in the exercise of exhumation and postmortem to be able to establish the cause of death.

Police also want to initiate an identification process of the bodies.

Members of the Orma and Pokomo have been fighting since mid August, culminating in the deaths of at least 107 people from both sides--in what has been blamed on grazing rights fuelled by politics.

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