Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki Monday launched the commencement of autopsies for the 110 bodies of victims of controversial Pastor Paul Mackenzie’s cultic teachings.
Professor Kindiki said it would take up to one week for the exercise to be completed and that it will take relatives of the victims more than one month to know the identities of the bodies through DNA.
The post mortem extermination exercise is led by Chief Government pathologist Johansen Oduor assisted by detectives from the Homicide Unit of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and forensic experts among others.
Addressing journalists at the Malindi Sub County Hospital Mortuary Monday, Prof. Kindiki urged members of the public to be patient as the government embarks on the process to establish the truth about the Shakahola massacre.
He said the government had resorted to using modern technology to conduct the rescue and recovery operation in the 800-acre piece of land believed to belong to Mackenzie, adding that the entire Chakama ranch is a crime scene and no member of the public will be allowed in as it is a security operation area.
“We are here to witness the commencement of a very critical stage concerning what happened to our people in Shakahola forest,” he said, adding that 110 bodies have so far been recovered. He said the exhumation exercise had been halted temporarily due to heavy rains.
Kindiki named Assistant Inspector General of Police Peter Ndung’u as the operation commander supported by the regional police commander.
He said that all officers who will have been found to have slept on the job would be made to account for their lapses, adding that a commission of inquiry into the incident will establish what actually transpired.
“There must be accountability. Other than establishing the cause of the tragedy, the commission will investigate and give recommendations on the conduct of officers that may have been negligent,” he said.
On his part the government Pathologist said the process could take a month as it involved many technical issues.
Kilifi governor Gideon Mung’aro also called on the public to be patient and give the pathologists time to conduct the post mortem and DNA.
He assured members of the public that the operation being carried out in Chakama ranch was not meant to victimize locals.