Over 100 bodies exhumed from shallow graves along Kenyan coast in past month
Kenyan President William Ruto on Friday appointed a commission to investigate a cult massacre with over 100 dead and buried in shallow graves.
The Commission of Inquiry will be headed by Lady Justice Jessie Lessit and will be mandated to investigate the deaths and torture of the victims who died in the Shakahola massacre in Kenya’s Kilifi County.
“The commission shall recommend legal administrative or other forms of accountability action against any public official whose actions or omissions are established to have willfully or negligently contributed to the Shakahola tragedy,” Ruto said in a statement.
Additionally, the Commission will scrutinize the factors that contributed to the emergence of religious extremist groups with cultic characteristics.
Ruto has also appointed a taskforce to review the legal and regulatory framework governing religious organizations.
The Shakahola Massacre has been attributed to a cult group that had been operating in the area for years.
The cult members are said to have been coerced to starve themselves in order to meet Jesus, the dead include women and children.
The head of the commission, Justice Jessie Lessit, is a well-respected judge in the Kenyan judiciary.
She is known for her firm stance on justice and is expected to carry out a thorough investigation into the cult killings.
A court in Mombasa County has granted bail to Ezekiel Odero, one of the suspected cult leaders linked to the Shakahola massacre.
The court stated that the state failed to provide evidence that Odero’s release would hinder the collection of evidence, including DNA samples from the victims’ bodies.
At least 109 bodies have been found since mid-April during investigations into a cult run by Paul Mackenzie of the Good News International Church in Malindi, Kilifi County.
The pastor, who is in police custody, is accused of ordering his followers to starve themselves to death. Forensic evidence has revealed that most of the dead were starved and some suffocated.
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