On Tuesday, January 31, Kenyan authorities charged photographer Jackton Odhiambo with the murder of prominent LGBTQ+ activist Edwin Chiloba. While the investigation is still ongoing, four other suspects have been released without charge.
As reported by The Nation, Odhiambo, believed to be the long-term partner of Chiloba, appeared in court on Tuesday where he was told that he will be charged with murder. Authorities have ruled out the incident as a hate crime and are instead investigating a love-triangle motive.
“Following our investigation, we have established that four of the suspects are not linked to the murder,” State Counsel Anthony Fedha stated. “However, the first suspect, Jacktone Odhiambo, will be charged with murder.”
Authorities explained that Odhiambo will now undergo a mental health evaluation to establish if he is fit to stand trial and that he is expected back in court on February 8. Moreover, three of the suspects released by the court, who are all juveniles but are believed to have helped Odhiambo move Chiloba’s body, are required to report to the police every month for the next three months.
It is with sadness and pain we received the news that Edwin Chiloba’s lifeless body was found yesterday as mentioned in the media. Edwin who was a Kenyan LGBTIQ+ activist, model and humanitarian was well known for his passion for fashion and activism. https://t.co/fwwEmbPNm5 pic.twitter.com/Yiid1pSVN4
— Pan Africa ILGA (@PanAfricaILGA) January 6, 2023
Edwin Chiloba was found dead on January 4, his body hidden in a metal box that had been dumped at the side of the road near the town of Eldoret. Following the discovery of the body, local police arrested several suspects in connection with the murder, including Jackton Odhiambo.
The activist’s murder resulted in an outpouring of support and mourning from the LGBTQ+ community all over the world. After news of his death first broke, many suspected that the killing was a hate crime, given that same-sex relationships are still illegal in Kenya and the LGBTQ+ community faces constant discrimination in the country.
LGBTQ+ advocacy group Pan Africa ILGA took to Twitter to share their condolences to the family and friends, saying: “We pray that his soul will rest in power as police continue to investigate the incidents that led to his death.”
They added, “We pray for comfort for his family and friends and all activists in Kenya. We will continue to follow this and provide all support to Kenyan activists as this situation presents a worrying environment for them.”
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