Autopsies Reveal Starvation and Violence in Shakahola Massacre

Investigators conducted a total of 22 autopsies on the victims of the Shakahola massacre, which took place in Kilifi County. The autopsies were performed at the Malindi Sub County hospital mortuary and were led by Chief Government Pathologist Dr. Johansen Oduor, with assistance from detectives and forensic experts. The autopsies revealed that 14 of the victims were children aged between 18 months and 10 years, while the remaining seven were adults. However, due to the high level of decomposition, the age and gender of one body could not be determined.

Dr. Oduor noted that many of the bodies showed signs of extreme starvation, suffocation, and blunt force trauma. Determining the cause of death became increasingly challenging as the bodies deteriorated over time, except for the skeletal tissues, which would take longer to decompose. In the third phase of autopsies, a total of 94 bodies were exhumed from shallow graves in the Shakahola forest.

It was discovered that the deceased individuals were followers of the Good News International Church, led by Pastor Paul Makenzi, who is currently in custody. It was reported that the pastor instructed his followers to starve themselves to death, believing it to be the end of the world. The death toll currently stands at 336, making it one of the most devastating cult-related tragedies in recent history. Additionally, authorities have uncovered 16 new graves at the Shakahola site, suggesting that the death toll may increase further.

DNA sample collection was ongoing, and prior to the autopsies, the team conducted scanning procedures to determine the ages of the victims. The Kenya Red Cross Society has reported over 613 people as missing in connection with this tragic event.


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