NAIROBI, Jan 6 — Kenyan police have discovered the body of 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, The Standard and The Daily Nation newspapers reported, quoting police sources.
Activist Edwin Chiloba’s remains were found on Tuesday near Eldoret town in Uasin Gishu county, where he ran his fashion business, independent rights group the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) said.
“He was brutally killed & dumped in the area by unknown assailants,” KHRC said on Twitter. “It is truly worrisome that we continue to witness escalation in violence targeting LGBTQ+ Kenyans.”
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 said she would comment at a later time. Uasin Gishu County Commander Ayub Gitonga Ali declined to comment.
“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,” GALCK, a Kenyan gay rights group, said on Twitter.
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.