So just where is Meshack Yebei?
That is the critical question after police on Wednesday said fingerprint tests indicated that the body of a man believed to be International Criminal Court witness Meshack Yebei could actually be a different person.
The tests carried out at Eldoret’s Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital’s mortuary identified the body as that of Yusuf Hassan, whose relatives also say they positively identified the deceased.
The body thought to be that of Mr Yebei was found on December 28 floating in River Yala in Nandi County, about 40 kilometres from his home, some days after he went missing.
Mr Yebei, who hails from Sugoi village in Uasin Gishu County, is said to have taken a child to a nearby hospital. His family received a text message from him, saying he was with people from ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s office.
The line used to send the message had a Ugandan code.
The officer in charge of the serious crimes unit, Mr John Kariuki, said the fingerprints of the contentious body had tested positive for Mr Hassan, who was a matatu tout in Kapsabet.
“The fingerprint tests taken led us to Kaimosi, where we met the family claiming their son, Yusuf, disappeared and was thought be in Nairobi. The tests showed that it was not Yebei’s body here,” Mr Kariuki told the media at the morgue.
Some Muslims showed up at the morgue, claiming to have positively identified the body as that of Mr Hassan, who they said had two children.
The lead detective in the case said the family claimed their son had disappeared and the last time he was seen was on December 25.
However, he said, the family did not report the disappearance to the police as they believed he had gone to find a better job in Nairobi.
Police say they were conducting DNA tests for both families to ascertain the identity of the body at the mortuary “beyond reasonable doubt”.
Mr Kariuki said the test results would be out after Monday next week.
The family of Mr Yebei had already planned his burial in Kaptebee this Saturday.