Kenyan police on Friday said they had arrested a suspect in connection with the death of a prominent LGBTQ rights activist whose body was found stuffed in a metal box in the country’s west.
Taxi drivers alerted the police after seeing the box dumped on the side of the road by a vehicle with a hidden license plate, The Standard and The Daily Nation newspapers reported, citing police sources.
The remains of activist Edwin Chiloba were found on Tuesday near the town of Eldoret in Wasin Gishu County, where he ran his fashion business, independent human rights group the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) said.
Research shows that acceptance of homosexuality is gradually increasing in Kenya, but it remains a taboo subject for many. In recent years, the country’s film board has banned two films for depicting gay life.
The death drew condemnation from several human rights groups, including the Kenya section of the International Commission of Jurists, which called for a swift investigation and the arrest of those behind his murder.
“Chiloba’s death is a tragedy and an affront to human dignity and a violation of the right to life #JusticeForChiloba,” said Twitter.
Resila Onyango, a spokesperson for the Kenya National Police Service, said officers have arrested one person in connection with Chiloba’s death.
“Police arrested a male suspect in Eldoret on Friday. He is the main suspect, but the matter is still under investigation,” she said in a text message to Reuters.
“Words can’t even begin to explain how we feel as a community right now. Edwin Chiloba was a fighter who fought relentlessly to change the hearts and minds of society when it came to LGBTQ+ lives,” GALCK, a Kenyan gay rights group, said on Twitter.
Under colonial-era British law, gay sex in Kenya is punishable by 14 years in prison. It is rarely enforced, but discrimination is common.
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