‘Where are my children?’: Agony of father whose four kids went with mother to Shakahola


Three children from a family in Eshihaka village in Mumias, who went missing with their mother.

Photo credit: Pool

A man in Kakamega is in agony after four of his children went missing four weeks ago, but it has since emerged they accompanied their mother to Shakahola for a doomed ‘pilgrimage’.

At the home of Mr John Muholo at Eshihaka village in Musanda location, Mumias West, relatives are fearing the worst as the search for the children aged between two and 12 years continues.

Millicent Maurine Ajai shakahola

Ms Millicent Maurine Ajai, the mother of the four children who are missing. She was rescued from starvation in Shakahola and is recuperating at a Malindi hospital. 

Photo credit: Pool

Their mother, Ms Millicent Maurine Ajai, has since been rescued by police in the ongoing operation at the Good News International Church farm in Malindi, which belongs to cult leader Paul Mackenzie.

Promised to come back

Ms Ajai left her house in Kaloleni, Nairobi, on the eve of the Easter holidays after she told her husband Antony Omuholo that she was going to visit her mother in Siaya County.

She travelled with all their four children and promised to come back after the holidays. She did not return. And now, the whereabouts of their children remain unknown after she ended up in Shakahola in Malindi County to ‘starve herself to death so as to meet with God’.

Her husband’s family in the rural Eshihaka village is worried that the children could be among the hundreds of people who were either starved to death or killed in Pastor Paul Mackenzie’s church.

Rejected vaccines for her children

Ms Scolastica Siria, the children’s paternal grandmother, said her daughter-in-law joined the controversial cult in 2018 after she was introduced to it by their neighbour in Kaloleni.

“We noticed this in 2018 during the vaccination of children against polio. My daughter-in-law blocked her children from being inoculated and fought with the medics and the chief who visited her house to vaccinate the children. She ended up arrested and the children were put under the watch of the authorities,” said Ms Siria.

Bailed out of prison

She would be released six months later with what her mother-in-law said was through the help of the same Good News International Church that bailed her out of prison.

Last year, the embattled couple visited the husband’s parents at home three times – in April, August and December.

“Both the children and their parents were all in good health and they looked promising. I asked my son to let me stay with some of the children but he said they were still under the surveillance of the chief in Kaloleni following the 2018 vaccination incident,” narrated Ms Siria.

Hell broke loose a day after Easter when their neighbour in Kaloleni called Ms Siria, who stays at their rural home in Musanda, informing her that her daughter-in-law had gone to join the controversial church alongside her four children.

She would call her son, Omuholo, to inquire about the shocking revelation she had received from their neighbour.

“He told me that he was aware of the matter telling me that his wife had informed him that she did not proceed to visit her mother as planned but went for spiritual nourishment in the Coast,” she explained.

Having seen the shocking information about the church on television and social media platforms, Ms Siria was shocked.

She instructed her son, Omuholo, to process a police abstract and proceed to Malindi to join his cousin who was following up on the matter with the homicide unit, DCI detectives and other security personnel in the Shakahola forest.

They managed to rescue Omuholo’s wife Maurine while in a coma and taken to hospital. She lost her five-month pregnancy in the process.

When she was asked about her four children, she told her husband that she left the children in the hands of another woman who was not fasting when she went into ‘fasting to meet Jesus’.

Already, the children’s grandfather Willis Omuholo and his son, Antony Omuholo, are in Malindi looking for them.

“I am afraid that my son’s children were killed because it is said that children were being forced to fast and those who could not were beaten to death. Some narratives are that a mother kills her children before she commences the fast,” Ms Siria said.