Taita-Taveta: Mass Grave Discovered in Voi Primary School

A Sample of the rare finds discovered at the archeological site from WW1 in Voi [PHOTO | KENYA NEWS AGENCY]

On Friday, November 11, construction workers building a twin classroom for students with special needs at Voi Primary School’s special unit in Taita-Taveta County stumbled onto an archeological site on the school’s grounds.

The construction site employees claim to have found what may have been a mass burial for thousands of undocumented African porters and soldiers who lost their lives during World War 1, which was fought between 1914 and 1918.

Several human bones, as well as other uncommon findings including bangles, rings, and chains, were found by the construction workers.

The non-governmental organization Tsavo Heritage, which focuses on the comprehensive rehabilitation and conservation of the Tsavo Ecosystem and Dispersal Areas, confirmed the incident by saying that Voi Primary is situated on the site of a former carrier corps base in Voi.

Between 1914 and 1918, the former carrier corps base served as a World War I base.

According to Tsavo Heritage, “During a class excavation yesterday they found what may have been a mass grave for the corps, bones, and chains,” suggesting that the site was not well-managed and may have included more bones.

Researchers who have spent years trying in vain to determine what happened to African-American fighters and porters who took part in World War One were thrilled by the revelation.

We are on the verge of a significant global discovery in terms of rare archeological discoveries “a World War I historian named Willy Mwadilo said.

“We will have the first official cemetery place for our brothers who died in the war if the bones prove to be those of Africans who served in World War 1,” he continued.

Tsavo Heritage claims that the site has to be properly excavated and examined because it may have been used as an ammo dump in the past but needs to be verified.

The majority of wartime accounts suggest that Africans’ bodies were just left wherever they fell, be it in the bushes or on open battlefields, therefore nothing is known about the final resting place of WW1 porters.

The men and women of the Commonwealth who lost their lives in World War One and World War Eleven are remembered and cared for by the Commonwealth War Graves, an international organization, which thanked Tsavo Heritage for alerting them to the extraordinary discoveries.

The international group reported that “our colleagues at the National Museums of Kenya have halted the work and a joint team of NMK/CWGC specialists are making their way to see the site.”

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