According to reports, at least 300 reported to be missing as a result of Mackenzie’s activities are yet to be found, or their bodies found.
Mackenzie, the head of the Good News International Church, surrendered to police in March and was charged after two kids died of starvation while in their parents’ care.
He was released on a Ksh100,000 cash bail but was later re-arrested on April 15, 2023, after more bodies were found in relation to the same.
On Wednesday, April 26, 2023, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki announced a dusk-to-dawn curfew in Shakahola even as police intensified investigations. So far, at least 14 suspects have been arrested in connection with the saga, which the government has termed a massacre.
“Curfew orders have also been declared and gazetted within the said area between 1800 HRS in the evening up to and until 0600 HRS in the morning for a period of 30 days. There shall be no public gatherings, processions or movement either alone or as a group during the period of curfew into and out of Chakama Ranch except as shall be permitted, in writing, by the Kilifi County Police Commander in consultation with the Operation Commander.”
Security agencies leading the operation also barred journalists from accessing the forest where the bodies are being exhumed.
Earlier this week, Kilifi Governor Gideon Mung’aro claimed that Mackenzie does not own the land, claiming it is part of the Chakama Settlement Scheme which has been grabbed by individuals.
“That land which Mackenzie is occupying is not his; we have three schemes in that area which were initially grabbed by some individuals from the Chakama ranchers,” Mung’aro said.
According to Mung’aro, Mackenzie chose to settle in the less populated areas of the forest where he carried out his activities undetected for years.