BBC

Kenya missing lawyer Willie Kimani hunt: Bodies found

Portrait of Willie KimaniIJM – Willie Kimani went missing just after leaving court just over a week ago

Two bodies have been found in Kenya during a hunt for a lawyer who went missing over a week ago with a client and taxi driver, police sources say.

Earlier, Kenya’s police chief ordered the arrest of three police officers suspected of being involved in kidnapping lawyer Willie Kimani.

Mr Kimani was representing a client making a complaint against the police.

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) believes he was abducted after leaving court in the capital, Nairobi.

A police source told the BBC that two bodies were found on the bank of a river 70km (43 miles) north-east of Nairobi.

Their identities have not been confirmed, but they are two of three who went missing last Thursday, police sources say.

A search is ongoing at the site to find the third body, Kenya’s Standard newspaper reports.

Mr Kimani was working for a US legal charity, the International Justice Mission, which focuses on cases of police abuse of power.

Kenya’s police have often been accused of brutality and they have been blamed for a series of extrajudicial killings in recent years.

LSK says this is the first time that a lawyer working on a sensitive case has gone missing.

However, LSK head Isaac Okero told the BBC’s Mohammud Ali in Nairobi that the incident suggests “lawyers are becoming a target because of their work”.

In 2011 a Kenyan human rights lawyer accused the Kenyan government of framing him for a bombing to get back at him for defending victims of extraordinary rendition.

Kenyan security forces carried out 25 extrajudicial killing between 2013 and 2015,Kenya’s official rights body said.

 

Star (Kenya)

 

The bodies of the lawyer and driver who went missing after a court session were retrieved from a river in Kilimambogo on Thursday.

Police sources told the Star by phone that the bodies are of lawyer Willie Kimani and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri. Bodaboda operator Josephat Mwenda is still missing.

Residents called police after spotting the two bodies floating in Oldonyo Sabuk River at about 5.30pm.

Mutungulu police boss Joseph Chesire said the bodies were taken to City Mortuary for identification.

Bodies from the area, which falls under Machakos police command, are usually taken to Machakos district mortuary. Police have extended their search upstream for more bodies.

The three went missing last Thursday while driving on Mombasa road from Mavoko law courts.

Kimani who was a lawyer with the International Justice Mission (IJM) had attended a court session in which his client, Mwenda, sued an AP officer for attempted murder.

Three IJM staff members who were in a second car reported back to their offices after court.

More on this: Lawyer, client missing for 72 hours after cop court case

Last Saturday, officials from IJM, family members and CID officers visited Naivasha district hospital mortuary where they viewed bodies.

The bodies recovered from Monkey corner area were not of their kin. The victims appeared to have been strangled with ropes and had injuries on to the necks and hands.

Investigators broadened their search to Bungoma, to where the signal of the mobile phone belonging to the driver was traced.

They took the statement of IJF staff and the lawyer’s family members on Thursday but were yet to take hose of the driver’s relatives.

It is believed the three were hijacked by armed gunmen at around 2 pm last Thursday.

The taxi they were travelling in was found abandoned at Kamirithu village in Tigoni on Saturday morning.

A mobile phone said to belong to the lawyer was traced to tea plantation in the area but is yet to be recovered. The third phone is yet to be recovered.

A man said to be a boda boda operator contacted Kimani’s family by phone on Thursday claiming the lawyer had been locked up at Mlolongo AP camp.

He claimed he had picked a note thrown from the window of a metal container at Mlolongo AP camp where the men were allegedly being held.

The note contained the phone number of the lawyer’s wife. IJM staff and Kimani’s family visited the AP camp at around 5 pm but did not find the men.