Bodies of students who drowned taking selfies recovered ‘after ritual’
Bodies of two college students who drowned in river Yala on Saturday after an accident during a photo-shoot have finally been recovered.
The body of Derick Ouka, a student at Jaramogi University was recovered Tuesday evening while that of Shallete Atieno, formerly of Bondo Teachers Training College, was recovered Wednesday morning ending a five day dramatic search.
According to Bondo OCPD Harriet Kinya, the bodies were recovered with the help of local divers who had been hired by the Siaya county government. They were moved to Bondo sub county mortuary for postmortem.
The families of the two students, who have camped at the river bank since Saturday, were grateful and could not hold back tears when they saw bodies of their loved ones being retrieved from the river.
A close friend and classmate of Atieno, Agnes Awino who was also present during the fateful outing could also not hold back tears as she narrated the traumatizing experience she has been through for the last five days.
As per local traditions, all four students who witnessed the two drown were required to stay at the river bank until all the bodies were recovered so that the bodies “do not go far from the scene”.
They were also not allowed to bathe or change clothes as doing so would “hinder the deceased from recognizing them” and therefore hinder recovery of the bodies.
“I have done what I could to find the body of my friend Atieno, I have gone through extremes and slept in the cold so that she can be found,” a tearful Awino told journalists.
Awino revealed that they were subjected to traditional rituals administered by witch-doctors who had been hired by the families of Ouka and Atieno so that the bodies could be found.
Last evening, a large crowd, which had gathered after the body of Derick Ouka was recovered, was told to move away from the river bank by a witch-doctor so that Atieno’s body could also be found.
The curious crowd was shocked when the witch-doctor told them that Atieno was shy to come afloat because she was naked and did not want people to see her.
The witchdoctor then promised that the body of the lady would be recovered the following morning (Wednesday) and true to his words the body was found an event that has left many people shocked.
When he visited the scene two days ago, Siaya county Deputy governor Dr. James Okumbe promised that the county government would take care of burial expenses of the two students.