Kenyan police have discovered the body of Edwin Chiloba, a prominent LGBTQ rights campaigner stuffed inside a metal box in the west of the country, local media reported on Friday.
Motorbike taxi riders alerted police after they saw the box dumped by the roadside from a vehicle with a concealed number plate, says The Standard and The Daily Nation newspapers reported, quoting police sources.
Chiloba’s remains were found on Tuesday near Eldoret town in Uasin Gishu county, where he ran his fashion business, says the independent rights group, the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC).
“He was brutally killed & dumped in the area by unknown assailants,” adds KHRC in a tweet.
“It is truly worrisome that we continue to witness escalation in violence targeting LGBTQ+ Kenyans,” KHRC says.
This is a frightening crime but it’s becoming common in Kenya – evidence of a growing epidemic of violence in the country.
In April 2022, SheilaLumumba, a LGBTQ+ Kenya was targeted & brutally killed.
— KHRC (@thekhrc) January 6, 2023
Research suggests acceptance of homosexuality is gradually increasing in Kenya, but it remains a taboo subject for many. The country’s film board has banned two films for their portrayals of gay lives in recent years.
Kenya National Police Service spokesperson, Resila Onyango says she will comment at a later time.
Uasin Gishu County Commander, Ayub Gitonga Ali declined to comment.
On Twitter, a Kenyan gay rights group, GALCK, “Words cannot even explain how we as a community are feeling right now. Edwin Chiloba was a fighter, fighting relentlessly to change the hearts and minds of society when it came to LGBTQ+ lives.”
Words cannot even explain how we as a community are feeling right now.
Edwin Chiloba was a fighter, fighting relentlessly to change the hearts and minds of society when it came to lgbtq+ lives.
— #HereForAll (@Galck_ke) January 6, 2023
Under a British colonial-era law, gay sex in Kenya is punishable by 14 years in prison. It is rarely enforced but discrimination is common.