Shakahola death toll hits 360 after 10 more bodies exhumed

Shakahola deaths

Bodies exhumed at Shakahola Forest are loaded into a Police van after today's exercise in this file photo. The death toll stands at 360 as at July 11,2023.

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

The Shakahola cult death toll hit 360 on Tuesday July 11, 2023 after 10 more bodies were exhumed.

Coast Regional Commissioner Rhoda Onyancha confirmed the numbers noting rescues are at 95 and so far 37 people have been arrested.

And Interior Cabinet Secretary (CS) Kithure Kindiki  described the deaths to be one of the worst security breaches ever witnessed in the country.

Appearing before the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on the Proliferation of Religious Organisations that is chaired by Tana River Senator Danson Mungatana, the CS admitted the government had failed to act on a report made at Langobaya Police Station.

"It is clear there were reports made of an ongoing suspicious activities inside the forest, and I am sure there is an OB Number of the same at the Langobaya Police Station," said CS Kindiki.

In regards to the slow process of recovering the bodies, Kindiki said: "It is because we are following international law regarding genocide. We have made inroads in Shakahola forest and we are scouring metre by metre, centimetre by centimetre and milimetre by milimetre. In some instances, we discovered the prime suspect Paul Mackenzie had grown some vegetables such as kunde on top of the mass graves. He had also built house like structures to conceal the graves."

The Interior CS has assured a win in the case noting no one will be forgiven if the prosecution loses the Mackenzie case.

"I have told the DPP that this is a matter of national interest. We must win this case," he said.

The government launched the phase four exhumation exercise on Monday targeting some 40 gravesites.