Hundreds of Kenyans defied tear gas and riot police to hijack the body of a popular singer, Abenny Jachiga, who was believed to have died of COVID-19.
The crowd of fans and mourners swarmed the Kisumu cemetery and prevented a swift burial, under rules for suspected coronavirus cases.
They said a hasty burial for Jachiga was disrespectful.
They succeeded at first, as the burial was aborted. The crowd removed the body from the graveyard and took it to a mortuary.
Jachiga, whose real name was Bernard Obonyo died on 11 June. He was 33.
His region of Kisumu has a tradition of lavish, well-attended funerals.
But rules imposed for suspected cases of COVID-19 infection require bodies to be buried within 24 hours of death with only five relatives in attendance.
According to kenyans.co.ke, the police returned in the dead of the night to retrieve the body.
Jachiga was buried at about 2.30 am.today, Kenyan time.
When the fans learnt about the secret burial, they stormed the burial ground for the second time, to retrieve the body.
In a video seen by Kenyans.co.ke, a helpless mother could be seen seated on the grave urging the residents not to exhume the body.
“You will kill me, you will kill me,” the mother is heard shouting.
Jachiga’s brother told Kenyan daily newspaper the Daily Nation that the singer was suffering from severe chest and abdominal pains, difficulty in breathing and had been vomiting blood.
The family and the authorities have not said whether he had been tested for the novel coronavirus.
Obonyo’s family are now asking for a week to organise a proper funeral for the star.
“As a family we are requesting, give us one week, let the fans plan, let the music industry plan,” said George Oningu, the singer’s brother-in-law.
“We do this to make sure there is peace and that Ben is buried in peace.”