Preliminary investigations into the death of LGBTQ activist Edwin Chiloba have led to four arrests in Kenya.
On Wednesday (4 January), the 25-year-old fashion designer’s body was found in a metal box outside the Rift Valley town of Eldoret.
Kenyan police have arrested four people over the brutal killing, the BBC reports.
Peter Kimulwo, head of Eldoret’s investigations at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), stated they have arrested their lead suspect.
“We have a suspect in custody and we are investigating his role in this murder,” Kimulwo said, the Guardian reports.
“We are holding him as a prime suspect because there are leads pointing to him and others,” he added.
He concluded: “But all these are subject to conclusive investigations.”
Furthermore, reports state the main suspect detained is a long-time friend of Chiloba.
While the motive of the killing remains unclear, rights groups have linked Chiloba’s killing to his sexuality.
“An escalation in violence targeting LGBTQ+ Kenyans”
Kenya’s British colonial-era laws remain in place as gay sex is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.
The Kenya Human Rights Commission stated: “It is truly worrisome that we continue to witness escalation in violence targeting LGBTQ+ Kenyans.”
It continued: “Every day, the human rights of LGBTQ+ persons are being violated with little consequence for perpetrators.”
Details about Chiloba’s death highlight the brutality of the killing. Reports state his body was in a decomposed state.
Preliminary reports indicate he died from strangulation.
Police seized the vehicle, spotted by a motorcycle taxi driver, believed to have dropped Chiloba’s body roadside.
The Kenya Human Rights Commission urged police “to conduct swift investigations and ensure the killers are apprehended and prosecuted.”
Additionally, Ghanaian human rights group Rightify called on Kenyan president William Ruto to “ensure the protection and promotion of human rights of sexual and gender minorities.”
Tributes to Chiloba continue to pour in on social media, describing him as “an amazing human” and an “iconic fashion designer.”