Five Suspects Held in Murder of Kenyan LGBTQ Activist

A court in Kenya says five suspects are being held in connection with the murder of prominent LGBTQ activist Edwin Chiloba, whose mutilated body was found on a roadside last week stuffed in a metal trunk.   

Kenyan police say they are investigating a possible love triangle as motive for the killing.   

Rights activists suspect the killing was one in a series of hate crimes in Kenya, where homosexuality is illegal.      

Among the five suspects arraigned in court in Eldoret Monday was Jacktone Odhiambo, a freelance photographer said to be a longtime friend of the 25-year-old Chiloba, who was a leading activist in Kenya’s LGBTQ community.  

The arraignment comes just a day after police arrested three more suspects for their alleged role in disposing of the victim’s remains. Chiloba’s family told VOA they are satisfied with the investigation process so far, even as they demand justice for their kin. 

“We want the culprits or the murderers of my brother to be charged according to the Kenyan law,” said Gaudensia Chirchir, Chiloba’s cousin and the family spokesperson.   

Chiloba’s body was discovered about 40 kilometers outside the Rift Valley town of Eldoret after it was reportedly dumped from a moving car.  

The killing has drawn widespread condemnation, including from the U.N. human rights chief Volker Turk and the African Union’s human rights commissioner Solomon Ayele Dersso.   

Rights activists say members of the LGBTQ community are increasingly being targeted with discrimination and attacks.    

Fahe Kerubo, an LGBTQ campaigner at the Reproductive Health Network in Kenya, said that “The incident of Edwin is not a first. This comes after Sheila Lumamba has been killed and others that I can remember.” 

Kerubo added that, “We’ve also seen increased homophobia, especially online. We’ve seen a lot of increased violation of incidents among the queer community or that is directed toward the LGBTQ community.”    

Under a British colonial-era law, homosexuality is illegal in Kenya. 

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