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The mystery of bodies discovered at Mombasa’s Likoni crossing channel

Saturday December 14 2019
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The vehicle belonging to John Mutinda who died after plunging into the Indian Ocean is retrieved hours after the incident on December 7, 2019. PHOTO | HAMISI NGOWA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By MOHAMED AHMED

A small crowd mills on the shores of the Indian Ocean in Mombasa.

A body bag is being prepared by Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) officials to be used to carry a decomposing body recovered from the Likoni channel.

The 500-metre crossing channel has made headlines in recent weeks for all the wrong reasons following the discovery of several bodies suspected to belong to people who either committed suicide or were murdered.

Over the past two weeks, at least eight cases have been reported at various police stations of people committing suicide by leaping to their deaths at the channel or of the recovery of bodies of suspected murder victims.

There have also been reports of people being rescued while attempting to commit suicide at the channel.

In the most recent incident, the decomposing body of an unidentified man was discovered after being washed ashore on the island side of the channel — on December 9.

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The body of the man believed to be aged between 30 to 35 was sighted by fishermen at Florida, near the Mama Ngina Waterfront.

Witnesses said the body was found with a missing left arm which police believe was as a result of it staying in water for some time.

DEATH THREATS

The body was recovered just a day after an incident in which a clearing and forwarding agent, John Mutinda, 46, died after driving into the Indian Ocean at the channel last Saturday.

Mr Mutinda, a father of three, allegedly committed suicide as a result of marital issues.

He drove his car and plunged into the ocean on the mainland side of the channel following alleged differences with his wife, Ruth Mueni.

The man had allegedly threatened to kill himself on several occasions.

Interviews with relatives and friends revealed that the deceased had undergone abuse at the hands of his wife that made him repeatedly say he would commit suicide.

A senior police officer at Central Police Station, where one of the couple’s assault cases was reported, said Mr Mutinda was a ‘man under siege’.

SUICIDAL PERSONS

“I am the one who handled the case. I summoned the man here after his wife had reported him over assault and disturbance, but after interrogations I learnt that their case had started in Likoni and I ordered them to go report it there,” said the officer whose name could not be revealed because he is not allowed to speak to the media.

Mr Mutinda’s incident happened a day after another man was rescued by commuters after he attempted to throw himself into the ocean.

On December 6, another body was found with a missing hand and left leg.

By the time of going to press, police were yet to identify the body of another man who died after jumping off a ferry.

The body is lying at the Coast General Hospital mortuary where it was taken after being recovered on November 26.

The unidentified man jumped off Mv Harambee ferry at the Likoni crossing at around 1.30am on November 24.

Following the discovery, the Kenya Ferry Services said in a statement that the man did not seem to be in the right frame of mind, based on a review of their CCTV footage.

KFS communication officer Aaron Mutiso said it was unfortunate that people have been using the channel to commit suicide.

He stated that KFS is working on programmes to educate the commuters on safety.

The recent cases have exposed the channel as an ideal spot for suicidal persons.

The channel has also been on the spot following numerous cases of faulty ferries that have also been termed as “death traps”.

KFS found itself on the receiving end following the death of a woman and her daughter whose car slid from a ferry on September 29.

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