Kenyan police: Murder of LGBTQ activist not hate crime

Jan 30, 2023, 12:49 PM | Updated: Jan 31, 2023, 7:14 am

Murder suspect Jacktone Odhiambo at the Eldoret High Count Kenya Tuesday Jan 31 2023. He is the prime suspect of the killing of LGBTQ activist Edwin Kiprotich Kiptoo Chiloba whose body was found murdered in Uasin Gishu County recently. (AP Photo/Peter Odiambo)

(AP Photo/Peter Odiambo)

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A suspect on Tuesday faced a murder charge in the killing of a prominent LGBTQ activist in Kenya, with authorities dismissing activists’ suggestions that it was a hate crime.

Authorities say Jacktone Odhiambo is the only person who will be charged with the murder of Edwin Chiloba after a court released four other suspects.

Chiloba’s murder attracted global interest due to the country’s stance on gay rights. Peter Kimulwo, Uasin Gichu county head of investigations, told the Associated Press that police have ruled out the murder as a hate crime.

Kimulwo said investigators now believe the murder was linked to a love triangle. Odhiambo who was arrested earlier this month is believed to have been Chiloba’s lover.

Chiloba’s body was found Jan. 4 stuffed in a metal box that had been dumped at a road near the western town of Eldoret where he lived.

Three of the released suspects are believed to have helped Odhiambo move Chiloba’s body from the victim’s house. A magistrate on Tuesday ordered all three to report to a police station every month for three months.

Activists have said the murder was a hate crime, adding that fashion designer Chiloba had been targeted for his activism in support of gay rights.

Kenya is largely a conservative society and the president has in past said that gay rights are a nonissue in the east African country.

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Kenyan police: Murder of LGBTQ activist not hate crime