The high court in Mombasa on Tuesday ordered that the body of a 14 year old girl who was shot and killed by police in Kinango, Kwale County last month, be exhumed for investigations.
The deceased, Kwekwe Mwandaza was shot dead after at least eight policemen stormed their home, a killing that sparked anger and uproar from both rights activists and the public.
Police would later claim that the deceased had attacked them with a machete, trying to obstruct them from arresting one of her uncles, which prompted them to shoot her in self defense.
Family and civil rights activists disputed this theory, insisting there was no way a 14 year old girl would pose a threat to several armed policemen, to warrant her killing.
The deceased’s cousin, eight year old George Mgandi who was with Kwekwe at the time of her killing, said police broke into their house and lobbed teargas at them before they started shooting indiscriminately.
Kwekwe, a class six pupil, was hit and killed on the spot as she slept in her bed, Mgandi said.
Human rights activists later helped her mother file a case at the Mombasa high court, requesting an order to exhume the body for post mortem and analysis by independent pathologists.
The girl’s father however opposed the application and through lawyer Abubakar Yusuf, argued that it was against tradition and culture to exhume buried bodies. He argued that exhumation would subject the family to torture by the girl’s spirits.
Lawyer John Khaminwa who represented the defense told the court in his submission that tradition and culture were not reason enough to prevent exhumation.
“In matters where criminal matters are involved like this, traditions cannot be considered,” Khaminwa told Justice Martin Muya.
The body is set to be exhumed on Friday.
Last week the parents together with local human rights groups demanded for the immediate suspension of the police officers implicated in the killing.
Reports also filtered in that the safety of the eight year old Mganda might be at risk after unknown people were seen patrolling his home area and asking for his whereabouts.
Mganda, who said he witnessed the killing of Kwekwe, stands to be a key witness if the suspected perpetrators are to be tried.