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Four Suspected Killings On Del Monte Farm, Are Being Investigated By Kenyan Police

Photograph: AFP

On Del Monte, a pineapple farm, bodies of four different men, who were missing for several days, were retrieved from a river on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and are suspected to have been murdered.

It follows an investigation into allegations of brutal assaults and killings by security guards at the farm in Thika, which is the single largest exporter of Kenyan produce to the world.

Friends and relatives of the four men found dead urged the government to intervene to explain how they ended up in the river.

David Kainga Mathiu, The Muranga county police commander, said: “Kenyan police have launched investigations into the killings of people inside the Del Monte pineapple farm.” He told Reuters that no suspects had yet been arrested.

Del Monte, on Wednesday, said it was “cooperating with Kenyan authorities as they continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the four bodies retrieved from the Thika River last week. The postmortems are still under way. Our security footage from when the men attempted to steal pineapple shows no foul play on Del Monte’s part and instead shows them running away towards the river, after dropping bags of stolen pineapple, as they tried to run away from security guards.”

They added that “organised crime, particularly around pineapple theft, is becoming increasingly rampant in the area. We are actively seeking additional ways to help tackle organised crime as safely and effectively as possible.”

This company, which employs 6,000 people in Kenya, said it worked closely with local authorities and “takes our social responsibility very seriously there, as we do everywhere else where we operate”.

For several days, a search had been going on for the missing men, when two bodies were found in the river on Sunday, and another two were found on Monday, the independent broadcaster Citizen TV reported.

Rhoda Wayua, the father of one of the victims, told Citizen TV that when they “found the first body,” they “started screaming.” They added that “after a while, the second body washed up. It was that of my son.”

Another relative, Peter Kamanzi, claimed that at least one of the victims had injuries that may have contributed to his death. Kamanzi said that “It’s quite visible that this boy was seriously beaten up.” This brutal method may have been the cause of his death.

Also, the body of Peter Mutuku Mutisya, 25, was found on 17 November, four days after friends said he had gone there to steal pineapples from the farm. A spokesperson for Del Monte said it had “fully cooperated with Kenyan authorities throughout its investigation last month” and they offered their “heartfelt condolences to the family”.

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