Kenyan fashion designer, model, and prevalent LGBTQ+ activist Edwin Chiloba was found dead last week. His body was found dead in a metal trunk about 25 miles outside the town of Eldoret, media reports said. He was 25 years old.
Peter Kimulwo, the head of investigations at the directorate of criminal investigations (DCI) office in Eldoret, reported “we have a suspect in custody and we are investigating his role in this murder. We are holding him as a prime suspect because there are leads pointing to him and others, but all these are subject to conclusive investigations.”
Police have revealed that the suspect was a longtime friend of Chiloba. Witnesses also spotted a three individuals loading a metal box into their car outside of Chiloba’s home. Those three suspects were also detained in their alleged role in disposing of Chiloba’s remains. Police are continuing to search for additional perpetrators of this crime. Police also confirmed that Chiloba “died a painful death.”
Gay sex is outlawed in Kenya, and it is estimated that more than half of LGBTQ+ individuals living in Kenya have been physically assaulted. Just last month, Chiloba posted on Instagram, “if I am going to fight what I have been marginalized for, I am going to fight for all marginalized people.”
The Kenyan human rights commission has released a statement urging police to find Chiloba’s killers quickly. “It is truly worrisome that we continue to witness escalation in violence targeting LGBTQ+ Kenyans,” it stated. “Every day, the human rights of LGBTQ+ persons are being violated with little consequence for perpetrators.”
Chiloba’s close friends remember his big heart and everlasting support for the LGBTQ+ community. “He spread love wherever he went, was bold about his existence as a queer man and encouraged many others to do the same,” Chris Makena, an activist and friend of Chiloba, told the BBC.