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State to commence phase five of Shakahola exhumation

Homicide detectives have completed preparations for phase five of exhuming the bodies of victims of the Shakahola mass murder.

Sources privy to the exercise told Nation that the exercise is set to resume on Monday, June 3.

The exercise will be undertaken by detectives from the Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI) homicide department in collaboration with other agencies.

Last week, the state handed over the last of 34 bodies which had been positively identified. Over 400 bodies had been preserved in refrigerated containers outside the Malindi Sub-county Hospital mortuary.

The Nation established that preparations were in high gear inside the Shakahola forest as DCI officers were setting up necessary logistics which were finalised on Sunday.

Religious massacre

“We will target a total of 34 mapped gravesites in the Shakahola forest,” a source who requested anonymity for lacking authority to comment on the matter told Nation.

In this phase, the graves will be located using the Global Positioning System (GPS) for easy identification and subsequent exhumation to hasten the process.

The targeted area is within where 429 bodies of the deadly religious doctrine were exhumed in the previous four phases.

Among the victims of the religious massacre were 184 children and 245 adult men and women whose bodies were exhumed.

A majority of the bodies are still awaiting positive identification and eventual release to respective family members for burial.

Unidentified bodies

The massacre was linked to teachings by the controversial preacher Paul Mackenzie who operated the Good News International Church.

Mackenzie and 94 other co-accused persons are currently in custody facing several charges including murder, manslaughter, radicalisation and child torture among others.

The exhumation exercise is expected to be the last before the government gives a way forward on the fate of unidentified bodies.

It is expected that all unclaimed bodies will be buried in a mass grave within the Shakahola forest, according to detectives involved in the investigations.

kmutai@ke.nationmedia.com

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