Nairobi, Feb 12 (AFP) A Kenyan human rights activist who went missing a week ago has been found dead at a city mortuary after a botched abortion, police said Tuesday.

Caroline Mwatha was reported missing last week, prompting Amnesty International to raise the alarm over her disappearance, given her work lobbying against extra judicial killings by police.

However investigations showed Mwatha, who is married, had been communicating with a boyfriend who sent her money for an abortion, a police statement said.

The probe “revealed communications relating to an intended abortion of a five-month old pregnancy”, said Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti in the statement.

“Investigators believe Caroline died in the clinic” and her body was taken to the mortuary under an alias last Thursday.

A police source earlier told AFP that the owner of the clinic, and a doctor, had come forward and admitted that “they took the body to the mortuary and booked her under a different name and indicated she died of diarrhoea”.

Kinoti said five people have been arrested, including the clinic owner, a doctor, the “boyfriend” and an Uber driver.

Abortion is illegal in Kenya unless the mother’s life is in danger, however government statistics show that over 400,000 abortions are carried out annually.

In November 2018 authorities banned British charity Marie Stopes International over adverts deemed to promote abortion. The ban was lifted a month later.

Marie Stopes estimates some seven women die a day in Kenya in so-called backstreet abortions. AFP

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.