The untold story of Nyeri’s suicide forest: Trees bearing scars of death
6 months ago, 22 June 11:27
For years, Kiganjo forest situated along the Nyeri - Nanyuki Highway near Chaka town is considered creepy. The name sends shivers down residents’ spines.
This is due to the high number of people who commit suicide inside the forest.
Residents who spoke to The Nairobian claimed that for the last eight years, 26 people have committed suicide inside the forest. Their bodies were found dangling from branches while others, lying still on the ground.
Last year, the body of a 30-year-old man identified as David Muriuki from Kirinyaga County was found hanging from a tree.
Muriuki hanged himself using an old bed sheet that had been folded neatly and tied in two knots.
Puzzling, however, is what led him to hang himself and why he chose to take his life so far away from home.
“The forest has several trees where the bodies have been found. However, it is not unclear if all of them are suicides or if the bodies have been dumped there after being killed elsewhere,” Francisca Kirigo, a local explained, adding, “The latest case of Muriuki was baffling. He was usually seen loitering around town carrying a sack and borrowing money. He looked mentally ill,” Kirigo, explained. Since 2010, I have seen at least 26 bodies. People come from different places to end their lives here, which is strange.”
Christopher Mwangi, a resident, said the forest is government property and they cannot clear or cut down the trees.
“We cannot cut down the trees since it is government property, and besides there is little we can do to stop people from killing themselves since we don’t know if someone is walking into the forest to answer a call of nature or to end their life,” Mwangi said.
Most of the bodies are discovered by herders who alert police.
Some of the cases, according to residents, are never reported since families opt to keep the matter to themselves.
“Not every case is reported because some families just opt to keep the matter to themselves,” said Mwangi said.
Locals also linked the numerous road accidents along the highway to the creepy happenings inside the forest.
“Just past the forest, there have been several accidents and even though they are not fatal, victims claim they see a smartly dressed woman crossing the road and this distracts them,” Martha Kimani told The Nairobian.
Kirigo revealed she has seen the woman who crosses the road before disappearing into the forest.
“She only appears to men driving alone along the road and she never stops or speaks to them. She later disappears into the forest,” she added.
Nonetheless, a visit to the forest by The Nairobian revealed that residents have turned the forest into a green lodge.
Dirty inner garments and condom wrappers litter the ground.
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