We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

LGBT+ activist Edwin Chiloba Lawrence Leteipa/PA Images
Edwin Chiloba

One man arrested after Kenyan LGBT activist’s body found in metal box

Edwin Chiloba’s body was discovered on Wednesday on a road in Uasin Gishu County, in the country’s west.

LAST UPDATE | 6 Jan 2023

KENYAN POLICE ARE investigating the death of an LGBT+ activist whose body was found stuffed in a metal box, while human rights groups decried the killing and officers announced one arrest.

Edwin Chiloba’s body was found on Wednesday on a road in Uasin Gishu County, in the west of the country.

Police say a motorcycle taxi operator reported seeing the box being dumped by a vehicle with no number plates. The rider reported it to police officers who were operating a nearby roadblock.

Officers who opened the box found the decomposing body of a man they described as wearing women’s clothes. The body was identified as Chiloba’s and was taken to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital to establish the cause of death.

The motive was not yet known, police spokesperson Resila Onyango said.

“We don’t know for now why he was killed that way. Experts are handling the matter,” she said.

Uasin Gichu county criminal investigations boss Peter Kimulwo told journalists that one person was arrested after neighbours reported seeing him and two others move a metal box from Chiloba’s house.

Neighbours said that the suspect, Jacktone Odhiambo, a photographer based in the capital, Nairobi, spent New Year’s Day with Chiloba and that they heard commotion and crying, Kimulwo said. Chiloba was not seen again by his neighbours after that night.

Neighbours were curious about a foul smell coming from Chiloba’s house, and Odhiambo told them it was from a dead rat, Kimulwo said.

It was not immediately clear whether Odhiambo had a lawyer or other representative to speak on his behalf.

Chiloba has in the past been attacked and assaulted for his activism, his friend Denis Nzioka tweeted yesterday.

The Kenya Human Rights Commission said today that Chiloba was a victim of “another disgusting act of homophobic violence”.

Amnesty International Secretary-General Agnès Callamard tweeted that a full and independent investigation into Chiloba’s “heart-breaking” killing must be carried out, “leaving no stone unturned.”

Chiloba, who was a fashion designer, was eulogised by local activist Njeri Migwi, who said that “he embodied fashion”.

The calls for justice have spread outside Kenya as Ghanaian human rights organisation Rightify called on President William Ruto to “ensure the protection and promotion of human rights of sexual and gender minorities”.

LGBT+ people living in Kenya have often decried discrimination and attacks in a country where sex between men is illegal. Kenya is largely a conservative society, and the president has in past said that gay rights are a nonissue in the country.

Press Association
Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel