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DNA sample extraction for shakahola victims to continue in the weekend

The extraction of DNA samples has been made open to allow as many relatives as possible a chance to identify the bodies of their loved ones who may have died in the Shakahola massacre.

Chief Government Pathologist Johansen Oduor said although his team expects to complete the exercise Friday, DNA sample taking will continue through the weekend, and asked the relatives to take advantage of the extension.

So far, autopsies for 100 bodies have been carried out, after 24 bodies were handled Thursday, with the major cause of death being identified as starvation followed by asphyxia and head injuries, Dr. Oduor said Thursday evening during the daily press briefing.

He said the pathologists conducted autopsies for three children and 21 adults – eight males and 16 females – most of them severely decomposed.

Dr. Oduor said most of the victims had features of starvation, two had head injuries while one was of a woman who appeared to have delivered recently as there were what looked like complications of delivery since there was blood in the uterus.

He said eleven bodies, including eight transferred from the Kilifi County Hospital Mortuary and one of a victim who died at the Malindi Sub County Hospital, would have their postmortems conducted Friday.

He called on relatives to report at the mortuary at 8.00 am Friday to try and identify the bodies from Kilifi hospital as they are not as badly decomposed as the others before the postmortem exercise commences.

He however added that even if relatives identify the bodies of their loved ones, they would still have to go through the DNA tests before the bodies are released to them. Nine families presented themselves for DNA sample taking Friday bringing the number to 31.

Dr. Oduor said the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights had been included to represent civil society group who have been agitating for inclusion.

However, independent civil society organizations have insisted that they should be involved in the exercise for the process to be credible.

Matthew Shipeta and Victor Kaudo of Haki Africa said only government agencies, including the Kenya National Commission of Human Rights (KNHCR) had been allowed to witness the exercise. This, they claimed, made the exercise opaque.

By Emmanuel Masha

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