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Gov’t pursuing more perpetrators of Shakahola massacre

Interior and National Government Administration Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki has described the Shakahola massacre as a well-organised criminal enterprise and announced that the government is pursuing other people believed to have aided Pastor Paul Mackenzie to commit the crimes.

He said security agents were zeroing in on tier two and tier three perpetrators who aided the controversial Good News International Church preacher accused of influencing his followers to fast to death to meet their maker.

Prof. Kindiki said this on Tuesday at the Shakahola Search and Rescue Command Centre in Chakama location of Malindi Sub County, Kilifi County, after overseeing the resumption of exhumations of the bodies of victims of the cultic teachings following the completion of postmortems on the initial 112 bodies.

The Cabinet Secretary said security officers had already arrested 25 suspects in connection with the heinous crimes and added that they were being processed before they were charged with various offences.

“And I can also report without prejudicing the ongoing investigations that we are zeroing down on the tier two and tier three perpetrators who aided Mr Mackenzie to cause this injury to our country.

We will be arresting and charging more second tier and third tier suspects in the coming days. Some of them are not within this locality, but we have an idea where they are, and very soon, we will be making further pronouncements on other key arrests of individuals who are associated with this organised crime,” he said.

Prof. Kindiki said that there are many more graves within the Shakahola thickets, leading the government to conclude that what transpired there was a highly organised crime.

He assured Kenyans that the government would do whatever it takes to unravel the organised criminal activity that has cost the country many lives.

The CS said that security officers have recorded hundreds of statements during the past few days from people of interest and those suspected to have information that can help unravel the truth.

He confirmed that 65 victims of the strange teachings had been rescued since the operation began, including two that were rescued Tuesday morning.

He said those who had been rescued had been taken to hospitals for stabilisation while children had been taken to children’s rescue centres.

The CS said the government had shelved plans to use aircraft in the search and rescue operation and will instead continue using drones, which he said had greatly helped the team in the operation.

He reiterated that the entire 50,000-acre Chakama Ranch is a security operation area and that the dusk-to-dawn curfew is still in force and that its duration could be extended since the work still pending is immense.

Prof Kindiki warned that anybody found moving or holding meetings between 6pm and 6am within the ranch would be treated as a suspect and would be arrested.

He warned politicians against visiting the area and urged them to make their political statements elsewhere, including stadia.

Last Friday, Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Chief Raila Odinga was barred from entering the forest by security officers.

Journalists and human rights organisations however, had a reprieve after the CS announced that they would be allowed to send two representatives to the operation area and share information with their colleagues at the close of the operation daily.

Meanwhile, 21 more bodies were exhumed Tuesday, bringing the death toll in the cultish massacre to 133, according to Regional Commissioner Rhoda Onyancha.

By Emmanuel Masha

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