Paul Mackenzie cult in Shakahola photo

On Tuesday, investigators working for the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) unearthed 17 dead from graves that were shallow in the Shakahola forest. This brings the total number of fatalities attributable to the killer to 90.

During the probe, which resulted in the arrest of two additional individuals for their roles in enticing followers of the renowned pastor Paul Mackenzie and his Good News International Church to go hungry to death, the multi-agency team reportedly evacuated three people who were in danger of dying from starvation.

The numbers, which continue to rise on a daily basis, have caused a problem in the surrounding mortuaries, which are now crowded to the point that they cannot accommodate any more bodies.

For example, the mortuary at the Malindi sub-county hospital can only maintain a limit of 12 dead, whereas the mortuary at the Kilifi sub-county hospital can only keep a maximum of 48 bodies.

Since it is thought that hundreds of people may have lost their lives, the Kenya Red Cross has made preparations to create a mobile mortuary that has the capacity to conserve around 300 remains.

In the interim, the investigators had intended to put an end to the exhumation activity in order to prepare the way for the beginning of the post-mortem examination; however, human rights groups have subsequently opposed this suggestion.

The NGOs that advocate for human rights are requesting that a new tactic be used to guarantee that the remains are properly maintained in order to save the proof that is required to solve the riddle surrounding the killings.

The manager of the Malindi Human Rights Centre, Victor Kaudo, made the following statement: "17 bodies were exhumed, but they are required to stay here until the evening so that they can be transferred to mortuary facilities in Malindi; we believe that this presents a problem."

On the other hand, the Executive Director of HAKI Africa, Hussein Khalid, made the following statement: "The issue we're asking is that, given that this is a government effort and that they have the authority, why shouldn't there be two teams?" 

"One group will continue to excavate the remains while the other does the post-mortem examination."

There were an aggregate of three people who were saved alive, increasing the overall number of people who were recovered to 34; the cops also detained a further two suspects for enticing others to go hungry to death in order to get their cooperation in the investigation.

The fact that police were unable to uncover the corpses of two children who were thought to have been laid to rest in a shallow grave outside the property of a former GSU officer who is reported to have pushed his children to starve to death raises more doubts.

Magistrate Ivy Wasike approved the pleas by detectives for more time to proceed with the exhumation and post-mortem as they put together enough evidence to back up the prosecution against Pastor Mackenzie, who appeared in court on Tuesday. As a result, Pastor Mackenzie is still going to be held in police custody. Pastor Mackenzie was brought before the court on Tuesday.

However, organ harvesting claims surface where some people were found with one or two organs missing. The dead bodies are also undergoing further forensics to determine the real cause of death.

Some corpses were found to have been beaten with objects before being buried. That has raised many questions as the autopsy continues.


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