Gov’t to Cover Transportation Costs for Bodies of Shakahola Victims; Plans Memorial in Their Honor

March 28, 2024

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki said the National Government will cover transport expenses for families unable to afford to transport the bodies of Shakahola cult victims to their homes after their release from the Malindi sub-county mortuary.

The mortuary has held 429 bodies for almost a year since their exhumation from the vast Shakahola forest, where victims of Pastor Paul Mackenzie’s starvation cult were buried after fasting to ascend to heaven.

The government has commenced releasing the victims’ bodies to their families for burial, with seven bodies out of the 35 conclusively identified released to their families on Tuesday.

One family in Malindi received remains of their 4 relatives, while another received two bodies. Additionally, one body was handed over to a family in Western Kenya.

Relatives offload the exhumed remains of Esther Biriya Masha who was a follower of the Christian cult named Good News International Church, who believed they would go to heaven if they starved themselves to death in Shakahola, from a private hearse as the authorities begin to hand over bodies to family members, at the Star Specialist hospital funeral home in Malindi, Kilifi county, Kenya March 26, 2024. Reuters

CS Kindiki also reiterated the government’s plan to establish a memorial center at Shakahola.

He made these remarks during a State of the County Security Appraisal Forum with Kilifi County Security Heads on Wednesday, March 27, in Kilifi Town.

Approximately 4,000 acres of the 50,000-acre Chakama Ranch will be allocated to honor the deceased Shakahola victims.

“The Government will acquire parts of the Chakama Ranch where the main suspect carried out his atrocious crimes on the people of Kenya and build a memorial to remind us of what happened in perpetuity,” he said.

The memorial area will also used for burying bodies that have not been identified.

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