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Nairobi, 26 March 2024: The Government of Kenya have today released less than ten bodies at the Malindi Mortuary, Kilifi County, where they have been lying for close to a year. The Shakahola massacre is one of Kenya’s most heinous mass crimes since the State of Emergency in the 1950s.

Amnesty International Kenya offers its condolences and solidarity to all the families directly affected by the disappearances and deaths. We acknowledge the gruesome exhumation and forensic identification work by the Directorate of Criminal Services and the Government Coroner Services.

The release today is less than ten per cent of the bodies that have been lying at the Malindi Mortuary for over a year. It is tragic that more than 400 bodies have not been fully identified and released to their respective families for dignified burial. The public deserves a ministerial statement that explains why the other 400 bodies are yet to be released and calls on Kenyan families who suspect their relatives may have perished in Shakahola to check the Malindi Hospital DNA database for them,” says Amnesty International Kenya Executive Director Irungu Houghton

Amnesty International Kenya further demands the investigation and prosecution of several government officers named in the October 2023 ad hoc Senate Committee report. Funded by public taxes, the Senate Taskforce identified and accused eleven officers of having knowledge and being complicit or taking no action to stop the illegal activities of Pastor Paul Mackenzie and his Good News International Ministries associates (see notes for a list of the officers named in the Senate report).

Christian extremism, occultic practices and national security lapses drove the Shakahola tragedy. It is widely suspected that the total number of deaths may be many more than 438 bodies recovered so far. It is important to note that this may be equivalent to the combined death toll (460) of the 1998 U.S. Embassy (220), 2013 Westgate (71), 2015 Garissa University (147) and 2019 Dusit (22) terror attacks.

As phase five and a new round of exhumations begin, Amnesty International Kenya calls on the Government to quash all suspicions of a cover-up by providing reasonable access to the media and human rights organisations and regular public briefings on the progress of the exhumations and pathological examinations. More budgetary resources are urgently needed to resource the operation at national and county levels.

Lastly, we encourage victim’s families to continue to press for dignified burial and justice for all.

Irungu Houghton 

Amnesty International Executive Director 

Malindi, Kilifi County. 

 

For more information and interviews, contact Mathias T. Kinyoda on   

Mobile: +254723424802 | Email: [email protected] 

Notes: 

  1. The Ad Hoc Senate Shakahola Committee Report could not be found at its previous address, www.parliament.go.ke/sites/default/files/2023-10/FINAL, REPORT-AD HOC COMMITTEE ON SHAKAHOLA.pdf  but can be found here http://libraryir.parliament.go.ke/handle/123456789/23566 
  1. Amnesty International Kenya submission to Senate https://www.amnestykenya.org/memorandum-investigating-the-proliferation-of-religious-organisations/ 
  1. Amnesty International Kenya and MUHURI statement https://www.amnestykenya.org/joint-statement-on-the-shakahola-village-religious-cult-massacre/  

 

Image Credit: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images

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