55 Garissa victims due for burial, 10 yet to be identified

April 10, 2015 3:58 pm
At the end of Friday, 55 bodies had been released to families for burial.
At the end of Friday, 55 bodies had been released to families for burial.

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 10 – Even as families collect the bodies of their loved ones for burial following their massacre in the Garissa University College terror attack, others remain in the dark since the identification process is yet to be completed.

At the end of Friday, 55 bodies had been released to families for burial.

But others are yet to come to terms with the loss of their loved ones eight days after the gruesome attack since they have not identified the bodies which are badly mutilated.

Cosmas Wekesa Amseve is a worried father; he does not know the whereabouts of his daughter as fingerprint information from the bodies he had identified were a mismatch.

“I having a really hard time, I am suffering because I have gone to the mortuary and seen over 50 bodies and wonder whether the fatalities were 147 or more; but my daughter is nowhere or did she get lost in the Garissa bushes because I have even analysed the university’s records to check her admission file and surprisingly her details are all missing, not even her picture,” said Wekesa.

Wekesa who throughout the interview fought hard as tears welled in his eyes, said his daughter, Emily Namaemba, a second year Education student was a joyful person who loved sports, very outspoken and last spoke to her on Wednesday, just a day before she would breathe her last.

“She loved netball and was also the vice chairperson of the students union. She was excited about a trip they were supposed to go on Sunday. We have hope that her body will be found because there are many other bodies still unclaimed. There is one particular body which has her features and every time I think about her, I rush inside the mortuary to see whether it is still there,” he said.

But for Susan Chelagat who hails from Deputy President William Ruto’s backyard in Kamagut location, Uasin Gishu County the long wait had come to an end as the body of her 21 year old first-born child Jackson Kipketer Tanui was finally identified.

“I was really hurting because he was still missing, but since his body has been found I am relieved. Despite the fact that he is dead, at least I have a body to bury where I can look back and say I had a son who died,” said a teary Chelagat.

The single mother of four who relies on a food kiosk to feed and educate her children says the loss hit her hard because her son had dreams which she hoped would come to pass.

“He was hardworking boy and promised me many good things he would do for me once he finished university, it really hurts that this will never be. It will take a while for me to recover, I will never forget him,” added Chelagat.

But for another family from Marakwet East, it is a triple loss as the terror attack which left 142 students dead claimed lives of three cousins, a loss they could not comprehend as the community was looking up to them.

“We were concerned when we heard of the attack and could not reach our children, we did not want to think they had all perished,” said one of the victims brothers.

The family was accompanied by the chairperson of the Kenya’s Anti FGM Board Jebii Kilimo who was sponsoring one of students said the community had lost bright students who were determined to change the destiny’s of their families, who ate languishing in poverty.

“We have lost three from Endo location, those are three graduates we have lost as a small community. As an educationist I feel saddened by this loss,” said Kilimo.

She urged the government to not only give the families the Sh100,000 but also to at least take up one more child from each family and sponsor them through school to help the families since most of them had invested heavily in educating their children some having sold their small parcels of land to ensure they stayed in school.

At least 130 bodies of the victims Garissa University college terror attack victims have been identified and are already being picked by their family members for burial while those that were badly mutilated are set to undergo DNA testing, said to take between 3-4 weeks, this depending on volume, logistics and personnel.


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