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Probe launched into suspected four murders on Del Monte farm

Kenyan police are investigating the suspected murder of four men accused of trespassing by security guards on a Del Monte pineapple farm, a regional commissioner said Thursday.

The four were reported missing last week. Two bodies were discovered on Sunday, and another two a day later in a river some 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the capital Nairobi.

Relatives of the victims told local station Citizen TV that some of the bodies bore marks of injuries that suggested they could have been beaten.

Murang’a county commissioner Patrick Mukuria told AFP that they “are investigating the alleged murders”, without giving further details.

Del Monte, a US multinational that specialises in fruits and vegetables, said CCTV footage showed the four men had attempted to steal pineapples from its farm.

The clip “shows no foul play on Del Monte’s part and instead shows the thieves running away towards the river, after dropping bags of stolen pineapple, as they tried to run away from security guards,” it said in a statement to AFP.

“Del Monte Kenya is cooperating with Kenyan authorities as they continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the four bodies,” it said, adding that autopsies were underway.

“Organized crime, particularly around pineapple theft, is becoming increasingly rampant in the area,” Del Monte said.

The company, which employs 6,000 people in Kenya, has been accused of abuse and violence in the past.

In July, a joint investigation by the British newspaper The Guardian and non-profit Bureau of Investigative Journalism accused guards at another Del Monte farm of running over two teenagers suspected of stealing pineapples.

Kenya’s defeated deputy presidential candidate Martha Karua on Tuesday called on the police and human rights groups to intervene in the latest deaths.

“For how long shall we let this gross violation of the right to life be perpetuated,” Karua posted on X, formerly Twitter.

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