Paul Mackenzie, 17 others to be detained for 23 more days amid probe into Shakahola massacre

Paul Mackenzie, 17 others to be detained for 23 more days amid probe into Shakahola massacre

Paul Mackenzie among suspects arriving at the Shanzu law courts on Wednesday, May 10

Controversial preacher Paul Mackenzie will be detained for 30 days while detectives investigate the Shakahola massacre, in which over 133 people have so far, been confirmed dead.

The ruling was delivered by Senior Principal Magistrate Yusuf Shikanda, who stated that releasing the suspects would jeopardise their safety as well as the ongoing investigation.

The 30-day detention to allow police to investigate the deaths of suspected members of a starvation cult will begin on May 3.

Led by Jami Yamina, the prosecution, which wanted the suspects held for at least 90 days, expressed dissatisfaction with the timeline given by the court. 

The preacher was among 17 other suspects, including his wife, who were arraigned at the Shanzu law courts on Wednesday.

According to an affidavit signed by the Investigating Officer, Inspector Raphael Wanjohi, detectives want Mackenzie and 17 others detained because the case is evolving and there are lines of inquiry that have yet to be pursued.

The prosecution claims in court documents that new information demonstrates compelling reasons for the respondents' continued detention while the investigation is ongoing.

The prosecution contends that additional investigation is necessary because the identities of the second through seventeenth suspects are unknown.

The prosecution also claims that the identities of some of the victims, who are believed to be relatives of some of the respondents, will not be known until the exhumations are completed.

"It is only after the last body has been exhumed that DNA material can be obtained from it for analysis with that of the respondents," the court papers read. 

The suspects will be held in various police stations across Kilifi while investigations into the cult deaths continue.


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