Rodents eating bodies at Kenyan morgue?

September 14, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 14 – A day after two men were arrested as they allegedly attempted to sell male genitals chopped off from a corpse in Nairobi, a family was shocked on Tuesday when it discovered the body of their kin missing ears and eyes, just two days after it was delivered to the City Mortuary.

The family of the late Eric Kilel, 35 – an employee of the Kenya Power and Lighting Company – had gone to identify his body at the mortuary but found the eyes gouged out and ears sliced off.

Richard Kilel told journalists that his younger brother had gone missing and failed to report to work on Friday.

“Our other brother who works with him at the Nairobi South offices was informed that he had not reported to work, so we were all worried because he had never failed to report to work and nobody knew where he was. We have been looking for him until yesterday [Monday] when police from Makongeni police station called his boss and asked him to go to the station,” Mr Kilel said.

“Once at the station, he was asked to confirm if our brother was their employee and when he did, he was told he had been killed in a road accident after being hit by a matatu on Jogoo road early on Friday morning.”

On Monday evening, employees from the Kenya Power and Lighting Company and one of Eric’s brothers went to the City Mortuary where they discovered that the eyes and ears were missing.

Mortuary attendants claimed that the body was delivered to them in that condition, but officers at the Makongeni police station contradicted the story, insisting that it was intact when they took it to the mortuary on Friday.

The same attendants told journalists and police that the morgue had been invaded by rats and cats that were eating bodies stored there.

A police officer who attended them at the Makongeni police station advised Mr Kilel’s family to report the matter to Kilimani police station in whose jurisdiction the City Mortuary falls.

“That is how we ended up making a formal report of the missing parts and we were accompanied by police officers from the station and Scenes of Crime detectives to the mortuary,” he said.

At the mortuary, the detectives and family members found journalists who were interviewing mourners on their reaction to Monday’s shocking revelation of two men who were arrested as they allegedly tried to sell male genitals.

“We have received a complaint about eyes and ears missing from a body in this mortuary. What we have discovered is devastating,” a CID officer who cannot be named because he is not authorised to issue statements said.

“The mortuary attendants cannot explain where the missing parts went and how they disappeared. The story they are giving is just funny; they are saying the parts may have been eaten by cats and rats in the mortuary,” the officer added.

Richard Kilel, the elder brother to the deceased said he was shocked at what the mortuary attendant told police in their presence as they examined the body.

“How can he dare make such a comment, how can rats and cats sever body parts right inside the mortuary? This is a total contradiction to the story they had given us earlier because they told us the body was brought in its perfect state, with only bruises and a cut on the one side of the head!”

“When you look at my late brother’s body, it is clear that the eyes and ears were professionally gouged out, the ears are carefully sliced off and it cannot have happened during the accident,” he added.

“We are not demanding anything more than what my late brother had, all we want is an intact body with the eyes and ears,” he said.

One of the mortuary attendants who recorded statements with the police later said “there is nothing we can do, that is not the only body which has been severed by cats and rats, these animals are there, it is not a story we are creating.”

Police at the Kilimani CID offices said they would compile a report of the investigation and forward the file to their seniors for further direction.

“There is a possibility of getting these fellows in custody, from the available evidence, but we will let you know,” one junior CID officer said.

The incident came a day after two men were arrested as they allegedly tried to sell male genitals chopped off from unidentified male adult at the Kenyatta Hospital Mortuary.

36-year-old Eliud Watiri Mwangi who is an employee of the Kentatta National Hospital Mortuary and Paul Kariuki Morunda a driver of Lona funeral services were charged on Tuesday with harming a dead body by severing its male genitalia without lawful authority.

They pleaded not guilty before Kibera Chief Magistrate Cecilia Githua who granted them a bond of Sh100,000 and a cash bail of Sh50,000.

The case has been scheduled for mentioning on October 21.

And as the two were appearing in court, dozens of mourners thronged the Kenyatta National Hospital mortuary to ascertain if their dead relatives had their body parts intact.

“We heard this shocking news and we came here today to ensure the body of our kin is intact, we have confirmed and it is okay, but we are worried because if such things are happening, then even the dead are not safe in mortuaries,” a mourner who only identified himself as Karanja said.

Kenyatta National Hospital Chief Executive Officer Jotham Michemi told reporters they had in place adequate measures to ensure bodies preserved in the hospital’s mortuary were no longer tampered with.

“Employees who were on duty on the day this incident occurred will be subjected to a thorough investigation, we can not allow such a thing to occur here,” he said and added that the hospital will fully cooperate with the police in their investigation.

“As a hospital, we apologise to the affected family and the general public for this unfortunate incident,” he added.


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