Kenya: 15 More Bodies Found in Shakahola Raising Toll to 226

Nairobi — The death toll from the horrific massacre of Shakahola forest rose to 226 Wednesday following the recovery of 15 more bodies.

Coast Regional Commissioner Rhodah Onyancha said 14 of the bodies were exhumed while one was found in the forest.

“Following today’s exercise, 14 bodies were exhumed and one was found in the forest,” she said updating the toll to 226.

Police and other rescue workers are undertaking a search and rescue mission in the forest since last month after 610 people were reported missing.

“There was one person rescued today from the forest in the ongoing search and rescue operation,” she said.

Police believe most of the bodies found in a forest near the Indian Ocean town of Malindi belong to followers of Paul Nthenge Mackenzie, a taxi driver-turned-preacher who is accused of inciting them to starve to death “to meet Jesus”.

Mackenzie has not yet been required to enter a plea but a court on Wednesday ordered him to be detained for three more weeks pending further investigations over what has been dubbed the “Shakahola Forest Massacre”.

The 50-year-old founder of the Good News International Church turned himself in on April 14 after police acting on a tip-off first entered Shakahola forest.

While starvation appears to be the main cause of death, some of the victims — including children — were strangled, beaten or suffocated, according to chief government pathologist Johansen Oduor.