Interior CS Kithure Kindiki announced this afternoon that the death toll in the unsettling Shakahola starvation cult has tragically risen to 241.
This update came as search and rescue teams recovered five additional skeletons, leading to the increase in the number of casualties. The exhumation exercise had been temporarily suspended on May 18 but resumed thereafter.
CS Kindiki reported that the team discovered the skeletons on two separate occasions, and they will be subjected to the postmortem process as part of the ongoing investigation. In addition, one more victim, who had been rescued from the forest, sadly passed away in the hospital on the previous evening. Despite the efforts made by healthcare workers to provide nourishment, the victim resisted ingesting anything and succumbed due to severe weakness.
“The team stumbled on the skeletons on two different days and they are part of the human remains that will be part of the postmortem process,” he said.
On a relatively positive note, 91 individuals, including one who later died in the hospital, have been successfully rescued, and 19 victims have already been reunited with their families. The authorities have also collected a total of 93 DNA samples and apprehended 34 individuals associated with the incident.
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CS Kindiki revealed that more graves have been identified in Shakahola forest, but the exhumation process will commence after the completion of the postmortem examination on the 129 bodies already recovered.
“Unfortunately we have evidence of more graves in Shakahola forest therefore the suspension is meant to allow this postmortem exercise of the 129 bodies to make sure that we are able to free this hospital’s mortuary,” he said.
This step is necessary to create space in the Malindi Sub-County Hospital mortuary, where the bodies are currently stored, allowing room for the additional bodies to be retrieved. To facilitate this, a temporary morgue has been arranged for the transfer of the bodies.
Furthermore, Kindiki pledged to extend the search and rescue mission to the neighboring areas of Tsavo and Galana Kulalu, where it is suspected that more victims may have sought refuge. He emphasized the implementation of advanced technology and thorough combing of every inch of the designated areas.
The situation in Shakahola remains grave as the death toll continues to rise, but the efforts of the search and rescue teams, along with ongoing investigations, offer a glimmer of hope in rescuing and reuniting more victims with their families. Authorities are dedicated to bringing justice and shedding light on the distressing events surrounding the Shakahola starvation cult.
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