29 January 2013

Nigeria: Ezu River - 15 Bodies Exhumed for Autopsy

Photo: Capital FM
Police line.

Fifteen of the initial 18 bodies recovered from Ezu River in Anambra State were yesterday exhumed by a team of pathologists from the office of the Inspector General of Police and the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, (NAUTH) Nnewi.

The recovery is to enable the pathologists carry out autopsy and further investigate the nature and circumstances of their death. The bodies were part of the several that were dumped by unknown persons into the river over a week ago. The bodies were later buried while investigations were still going on as to why and how they were killed.

The corpses were discovered on January 19 by some villagers who had gone to fetch water, giving the impression that they were dumped the previous night. The villagers had reported that they counted over 50 bodies, all hefty young men in boxers while some of them had their hands tied behind their backs and with bullet holes behind their neck.

When people trooped there to witness the incident, about 30 bodies were counted with no person being able to identify any. Some others, according to the villagers' accounts, might have been swept away by the fast flowing river with its source at Ogwu in Enugu Council Area.

Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, who visited the scene the following day, had expressed shock at the floating bodies, their source and motive behind their killing and promptly ordered that the bodies be recovered. He also announced a N5 million reward for anybody with any clue as to the source of the corpses and who dumped them.

The Police Commissioner in Anambra State, Bala Nasarawa, on January 21, said 18 bodies had been recovered without bullet holes or machete cuts thereby contradicting the villagers' account.

Three of the corpses, he said, were selected for autopsy, while the remaining 15 were given mass burial.

Four more bodies, however, had been recovered since then. But at the weekend, the Anambra State Health Commissioner, Dr. Lawrence Ikeako, said the pathologists had conducted autopsy on the three selected corpses after subjecting them to toxicological laboratory examination and that 15 others would be exhumed yesterday to determine the cause of their death since it may not be the same for all of them.

Ikeako remarked that the corpses were in very bad state having been buried about a week ago. Some specimens, he said, would be taken from each of the corpses for laboratory examination, adding that the outcome would be known in about two weeks.

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