Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki will today May 1, 2023, oversee a postmortem exercise of the Shakahola cult victims who reportedly died from starvation.
The government intends to commence the postmortem examination of 110 bodies so far recovered from the Shakahola forest.
According to Francis Gachuri, Head of Communications at the ministry, a team of experts led by Government Chief Pathologist Dr Johansen Oduor will carry out the postmortem examinations.
The Interior CS is expected to oversee the postmortem’s commencement in Kilifi.
Kindiki on Friday, April 28, 2023, said the government had suspended the exhumation of bodies at Shakahola Forest owing to bad weather.
The Interior CS made the announcement after touring the area in which bodies, believed to be followers of controversial pastor Paul Mackenzie, have been dug up.
“The experts have advised us that the procedure of doing the exhumations for purposes of judicial and court processes involves a lot of sensitivity. The ground must be dry to a certain level so that they are able to conduct the exhumations without interfering with the evidence or further damaging the bodies. Therefore we have suspended the exhumations because of the weather and as soon as it dries up a little bit we will resume,” Kindiki explained.
The Interior CS also revealed why journalists and human rights groups have been barred from accessing Shakahola forest to follow up on the exhumation exercise.
“The process of exhuming the bodies is a court-ordered process; It is done based on certain ethical and professional standards, that’s why we cannot allow everybody to take part in the exhumation, or to take images,” Kindiki said.
“Such images are limited even by international law because they constitute outrageous crimes against human duty. These are the bodies of people’s loved ones and kin and so there is a limit even in terms of what security agents can do,” he added.
The CS further noted that the government was also limiting the movement of law enforcement agents who have access to the grounds.
MCK in a statement warned that denying journalists access to the forest to cover the tragedy opens the floodgates of misinformation, rumours and confusion to the whole country.