• The exhumations come at the end of the autopsy of over 112 bodies so far recovered.
• The exhumations will start afresh as families of missing people continue to search and wait for the identification of the bodies so far retrieved from the forest.
The second phase of the exhumation of the bodies from Shakahola is set to start on Tuesday, as the investigations into the extent of the Paul Mackenzie-led cult activities continue.
The exhumations come at the end of the autopsy of over 112 bodies so far recovered.
The exhumations will start afresh as families of missing people continue to search and wait for the identification of the bodies so far retrieved from the forest.
Interior CS Kithure Kindiki said at the moment, a total of 112 bodies were exhumed from graves found in the forest associated with Mackenzie who has since been arrested.
“On Tuesday, I will be officially launching the second phase of the exhumation since the experts are telling us that we still have more graves in the forest which means that the number of bodies will increase,” said Kindiki while in Meru.
So far officials have identified 15 more gravesites that they intend to target in the second phase of the exhumation exercise.
This means the number of bodies to be recovered is expected to rise.
The exhumations will start afresh as families of missing people continue to search and wait for the identification of the bodies so far retrieved from the forest following cult links connected to pastor Paul Mackenzie.
The number of people reported missing has surpassed 400, Kenya Red Cross officials said.
The families are eagerly waiting for the outcome of the DNA matching to ascertain whether their family members are among those who died in Shakahola.
For instance, Morris Yimbo’s four children left his home in Kisumu in 2020, bound for Kilifi drawn there by their uncle, a follower of Mackenzie and they have not gone back.
The family's search for their kin took them to Lamu, Mombasa and finally Kilifi, Shakahola the latest home of the Good News International church, under Mackenzie.
Yimbo has been to Malindi in the wake of the breaking of the cult story where he says his worst fears were confirmed.
His children aged between 14 and 21 were killed as they tried to escape from the shackles of the cult last month, officials say.
The DCI's homicide department, currently leading the investigations into the deaths, together with the government chemist have been taking DNA samples from relatives that will help them match the bodies to their living relatives.
Kindiki added that due to security issues, people have been barred from entering the forest which has so far been declared a security operation zone and that those going there should have a valid reason and should first inform security officers who will thereafter escort them.
He said the government has nothing to hide regardless of the number of bodies that will be exhumed from the forest.
“We will tell the world what happened and make sure that the whole truth comes out so that we do not have such an incident again in our country,” said Kindiki.
He said the government will go after those criminals who were engaged in the deaths of innocent men, women and children and make sure they face the most painful punishment ever found in the law books.
“We recognize the constitution of our country permits the freedom of worship and religion. However, the same constitution does not allow people to exercise the freedom of worship or religion to manipulate the word of God and the Holy Scriptures to hurt people and to engage in criminal activities.”
Dozens more bodies are believed to be buried in shallow graves therein. Some 49 people have been rescued from starvation.
Mackenzie, who is in police custody, is being investigated for influencing his followers to starve to death in order to meet their maker.
Police also suspect that some of the victims did not starve to death and may have been killed and then buried on the property.
He has denied wrongdoing but has been refused bail. He insists that he shut down his church in 2019.
The followers say he told them to starve themselves in order to "meet Jesus".