Shakahola cult: Record number

Shakahola cult: Record number

 

The death toll rose to 179 on Friday as homicide detectives excavated 29 bodies in Shakahola woodland, the most in a single day.

The 179, who make up the 609 individuals reported missing, are thought to have starved themselves to death in order to “meet God” in accordance with the teachings of Good New International Church founder Paul Mackenzie.

 

The vast 800-acre farm in the jungle, some 70 kilometers from Malindi, was used to bury the deceased.

 

Postmortem investigations have revealed that several people were beaten or strangled.

Shakahola cult: Record number

This week saw the start of the second stage of the exhumations under the direction of Martin Nyuguto, chief of homicide.

 

112 bodies have been evaluated by a medical team led by Chief Government Pathologist Johansen Oduor. Rainstorms in Kilifi County have forced the exhumation to stop.

 

Following information about a mass grave nearby, detectives are also paying attention to Mr. Mackenzie’s property.

 

Yesterday, there were no arrests made or people saved within or outside of Shakahola forest.

“There are still 72 people being saved, while 65 people have been arrested. 93 families total have donated DNA samples. According to Coast Regional Commissioner Rhoda Onyancha, there are now 609 people who have been reported missing, an increase of 15.

 

Investigations are being conducted into whether Mackenzie, who is detained, encouraged his followers to starve to death. According to police, some victims may have been murdered and interred on the vast property.

The Malindi Sub County Hospital’s tracing counter is packed as more people arrive to report their lost relatives.

 

The malnourished and ill are taken to locations where their family have never heard of them as they recuperate.

 

After weeks of looking, Ms. Fatuma Salim, who had reported her sister Shamim missing, found her. Her happiness, however, didn’t last long.

 

“I had given her the name Shamim Salim, although no one who had been rescued had that name. I presented the officers my sister’s picture a few weeks later. Although she claimed to be Damaris Vidzo, she had been saved.

Record number

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