14 bodies found after Nairobi rivers cleanup

Clean-up crews found the body of an eight-year-old boy who had been strangled and dumped near the Nairobi River
kenya news
A volunteer takes a break from cleaning out a section of Nairobi river that is adjascent to a micro-recreation park initiated by slum youth that is situated on a section of the bank reclaimed from the heavily polluted waters of the river in Nairobi’s Korogocho shanty town on May 17, 2019 in Nairobi, where at least 69, mostly reforming hoodlums and dilinquents, are now eching out a livelyhood cleaning up the river and it’s environs. – Slum youth in Korogocho, worn out of being in constant ‘flee-mode’ at the sight or sound of police in the ghetto decided in 2017 to create the park as part of their efforts to clean up the putrid environment thynhad grown up in and evidence to their local community of their decision to reform from crime and inspire younger generations from criminal ways. (Photo by TONY KARUMBA / AFP)

A major operation to clean up the trash-clogged rivers in the Kenyan capital has led to the grisly discovery of 14 bodies, most of them babies and children, the local government said Friday.

On Friday, clean-up crews found the body of an eight-year-old boy who had been strangled and dumped near the Nairobi River, just days after the bodies of twin babies were discovered in a plastic bag.

“Nairobi county youth conducting cleaning of Nairobi River have today (Friday) found yet another body of a… boy strangled and dumped near the river,” said county government spokesman Elkana Jacob.

“This makes a total number of 14 bodies of adults and infants retrieved from Nairobi rivers since Governor Mike Sonko launched the clean-up exercise,” he said.

Rock arrangements mark the ground (foreground) where recovered bodies of infants are said to be buried on the bank of the heavily polluted Nairobi River, as volunteers take a break during ongoing cleaning activities next to a micro-recreation park initiated by slum youth that is situated on a section of the bank reclaimed from the heavily polluted river waters at Nairobi’s Korogocho shanty town. (Photo by TONY KARUMBA / AFP)

Nairobi’s name comes from a Maasai phrase meaning “place of cool waters”, however the main river and its tributaries have fallen prey to industrialisation and chaotic urban planning.

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Factories spew industrial waste into the rivers, while dozens of informal settlements with no proper sewage system or trash removal fill them with garbage and human waste.

Sonko announced the latest in a string of clean-up operations over the past two decades in May last year, however it began in earnest in early 2019.

“These numbers of dead bodies retrieved from rivers are worrying. We have called on the police to investigate these cases. Who are the people behind these senseless killings,” Sonko said in a press statement Saturday.

“Once we have clean running rivers, no one will dump anything into the waters without being noticed. My teams are working round the clock to ensure we achieve what we have decided to do.”

Volunteers manicure grass at a micro-recreation park initiated by slum youth situated on a section of the bank reclaimed from the heavily polluted Nairobi River in Nairobi’s Korogocho shanty town. (Photo by TONY KARUMBA / AFP)

Aside from eight infants and the young boy found Friday, the bodies of five adults were also found during the operation this year in the Nairobi River, and its tributaries the Ngong River and Mathare River.

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Fredrick Okinda, chairman of Komb-Green Solutions which is assisting in the cleanup, blamed illegal clinics performing abortions for some of the bodies found. He said some appeared to be foetuses.

“Some hospitals here are doing abortions to young ladies and they don’t have any place to dump the bodies,” he told AFP.

Abortion is illegal in Kenya unless the life of the woman is in danger.

Some of the babies appeared to have been “thrown after being born”, said Okinda.

His organisation had buried some of the babies next to the river.

“We are not surprised because you know this is a slum area… so when we come to the cleanup we were ready to face any challenge as long as we reclaim the lost glory of Nairobi River.”

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