Kenyan police are currently probing accusations of homicides involving guards at a Del Monte plantation, owned by a US company, located in the central region of the country. This investigation comes in response to the discovery of four bodies in a river, as confirmed by a county official on Thursday.
According to the Kenyan media Citizen TV, two bodies were found on Sunday, and two others the next day, in the Thika River, near this plantation located 40 km north of the capital Nairobi. The four people had been missing since December 21.
“Police are investigating the alleged murders of four men on a pineapple farm in Del Monte,” said Patrick Mukuria, administrative head of Muranga County, without further details. In a press release sent to AFP, Del Monte assured: “to cooperate with the Kenyan authorities”.
The global group specializing in the production and distribution of fruits and vegetables also points out that, according to its video surveillance images, the four men were “stealing pineapples” from the plantation.
The footage “does not show any wrongdoing on Del Monte’s part, but rather shows the thieves fleeing toward the river, after dropping the bags of stolen pineapples, attempting to escape security guards,” continued the American company, stressing that “the autopsies are still in progress”.
The company which employs 6,000 people in Kenya has already been accused of abuse and violence in the East African country.
A joint investigation by the British newspaper The Guardian and the NGO Bureau of Investigative Journalism notably accused guards of another Del Monte plantation in July of running over two teenagers suspected of having stolen pineapples.
The Guardian and the NGO also mentioned “allegations of six murders over the last decade by guards on the vast Del Monte pineapple plantation”.
“How long will we allow this blatant violation of the right to life to continue by Del Monte?”, wondered Martha Karua, defeated vice-presidential candidate in the 2022 presidential election, on Tuesday on X (formerly Twitter).