Shakahola cult probe: Gov’t extends dusk-to-dawn curfew at Chakama Ranch for 30 more days

Shakahola cult probe: Gov’t extends dusk-to-dawn curfew at Chakama Ranch for 30 more days

Interior CS Kindiki Kithure greets Chief Government pathologist Dr. Johansen Oduor at the Malindi sub-county hospital Mortuary on May 25, 2023. PHOTO | COURTESY | MINA

The government has extended the dusk-to-dawn curfew at the Chakama Ranch in Kilifi County where Shakahola forest is located for one more month as search and rescue efforts for the starvation cult victims continue.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Prof. Kindiki Kithure on Thursday said operations within the forest will continue until all victims are rescued.

This as more mass graves were discovered, and the second phase of autopsies that began on Thursday shows starvation as the main cause of death.

The CS also paid a visit to controversial cleric Paul Mackenzie's abode deep inside Shakahola, which paints a picture of a settlement hurriedly deserted; the remnants of a way of life that has left hundreds dead, and even more missing.

Security agents have been camping in the Shakahola forest, combing the area in search of survivors, and unearthing graves.

The exercise of exhumation has for the second time since March taken a break to pave the way for the second round of autopsies on the second batch of 129 bodies exhumed. On Thursday, 15 bodies were examined; four male and 11 female.

While the autopsies by Chief Government pathologist Dr. Johansen Oduor continue, so will the search and rescue operations within Shakahola.

The government said the exercise, which will now take place around the clock, will be enhanced with the opening up of more security roads within Shakahola, the expansion of the search area towards Tsavo East Forest and Galana Kulalu Scheme, and the use of unmanned drones and more aircraft.

”We will not interrupt the search and rescue, even for a moment, until when we are satisfied that we have exhausted the search and rescue - if anything we are going to upscale it, make it more systematic,” said CS Kindiki.

The Interior boss said the exhumation of the bodies will continue once the autopsies are done, adding that the search in the forest has since yielded even more areas of interest.

“We have about close to ten mass graves...we don't have the contents but we believe that they could be more,” he noted.

The government at the same time said it is training its eyes on other organisations operating in the style of the controversial preacher Mckenzie, with the CS calling on the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) to pull down from social media such teachings that are detrimental to the public health.


Citizen Digital Curfew Kilifi County Citizen TV Kenya CS Kithure Kindiki Shakahola Chakama

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