A family in Komo village, Thika East Sub County is in distress after being forced to keep the remains of their kin in their house for three years as they await post-mortem results of other body parts.
Joseph Njuguna’s family have kept a few bones, ribs, intestines, hair and tattered clothes wrapped in a small sack that the deceased wore during that fateful day on March 2017, as the police conclude post-mortem on his head to pave way for his burial.
The 64 years old was mauled by hyenas as he was grazing family livestock, only for his remains to be discovered two days later.
However, a quarter of the head was discovered another two days later, and was taken by the police to check if it matched his other body parts.
Ever since, they have received no information from the investigating officers, and have slowly become impatient, with having to see their brother’s remains each day.
They want the government to intervene and have police release their brother’s head and give them a permit to bury their brother.
“Nobody is comfortable in this house. Whenever we are inside, we rarely talk. The sight of the green sack where his remains have been kept all those years is not only terrifying but also emotionally draining,” his younger brother Fredrick Kahuha told the press when they visited them today.
The bones were presented to the family while still bloody fresh by the police and ever since the smell lingers in their mind, despite them now being stone dry.
“The police advised that preserving the remains in the mortuary would be costly as investigations may take time to conclude. But we didn’t expect it to take three years,” a distraught Kahuha said, as he slowly opened the sack containing his brother’s remains.
“These are his ribs, skull and some of his hair and clothes that my brother wore that fateful day. This sack is heavily guarded from dogs or other predators as we hope one day to bury my brother,” a sobbing Kahuha said.
A disturbed Njuguna’s mother Margaret Njeri is yet to come to terms of having to keep the remains of her son at her house all that long.
She sometimes fears entering the house, saying his son haunts her in dreams on why they still have his remains.
“When I see that sack, I can’t take anything, even water. I feel emotionally disturbed. In fact, I won’t spend the night in the house today,” she said, though lost in thoughts as Kahuha unwrapped the sack that carried the remains to show the press.
“Why should a mother be forced to go through all this? All I want is the bones to be removed from the house and buried. Only that time I will be at peace,” said the 87 year old.
Their father died of stroke a year with the family attributing his death to stress and pressure he suffered having been forced to see his son’s remains in the house.
The mother too has since been diagnosed with high blood pressure. They described Njuguna, who had not been married, a responsible man who stayed away from trouble. He helped the family in household chores and herding their livestock.
They family accused the police of ignoring them in attempts to secure their brother’s head to perform burial rites, despite visiting their offices regularly.
The former Thika East DCIO, Titus Cheren who is privy to the matter and has since been transferred to Kapsabet County confirmed that the body parts were indeed taken to the government chemist to verify if they matched that of a human being.
“Since the remains were discovered days later, we had to have examinations done on some of the body parts to verify if they were human. It takes time and is above us,” he said.
Cases of hyena attacks in the area has been on the increase with residents decrying that despite seeking redress from the neighbouring Kenya Wildlife Services office in Kilimambogo, no action has been taken.
They claimed that since this incident, another three people have`since been mauled to death by the carnivores, and hundreds of animals killed.
“Our children fear going to school early in the morning as the over 30 hyenas can attack them. We know the cave they hide in and we fear for our lives,” said William Nderere, a resident.
By Muoki Charles