Shakahola deaths pass the 400 mark after detectives retrieve 12 more bodies

Few metres from where the bodies were retrieved, the detectives also stumbled on a scene where children reportedly used to be tied with ropes and starved to death inside the forest.

At the scene,several pieces of ropes and clothes were found which are believed to have been used to tie the children.

''Most detectives will tell you they have seen it all. It's the nature of the job to be exposed to virtually everything Kenya has to offer - from the weird to the hilarious to the disturbing. But Shakahola is a different kind of evil,'' said detective, of her horrific ordeals inside the Shakahola forest.

The homicide detectives say the exhumation will take much longer than anticipated because new graves are being discovered every day.

''At the beginning of the week,we had 40 new mass graves. But we keep on stumbling on new graves; sometimes we find graves even where we pitch our tents," said the detective yesterday.

Coast regional commissioner Ms Rhoda Onyancha said the number of those rescued still remains at 95 and arrests at 37.

''Our forensic team was able to exhume 12 bodies today but we have not reported any rescue," said Onyancha,adding that the search ongoing.

Throughout this week, authorities have been digging up shallow graves scattered in the forest as they looked for remains and scanning the area for any survivors as hundreds of people are still reported missing.

''Those reported to be missing by their loved ones still remain at 613,'' Onyancha said.

She further said those who have undergone DNA sampling stand at 253.

Onyancha said exhumation will continue deeper into the forest where Makenzi resided.

Last month, Kenya Defence Forces soldiers were deployed to demarcate the 50,000 hectare Chakama ranch under which Shakahola falls to help in the search and rescue operation.

Earlier, Interior cabinet secretary Kithure Kindiki said the Shakahola massacre was a well calculated murder.

He suggested Makenzi who is in police custody pending investigations might be charged with terrorism or genocide-related offenses.

Police went to stormed Makenzi's property in mid-March, after investigators received a tip that dozens of people were starving to death after their pastor told them it was a way to meet Jesus.

The emaciated followers were treated at a Malindi subcounty hospital before they were taken for counselling sessions.

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

Detectives are bent to uncover what could become one of the worst mass suicide in recent memory.

Meanwhile, Shakahola residents say the incident has disrupted their daily businesses.

According to Gharama Mohammed, a businessman, Shakahola trading centre has incurred losses since people stopped visiting the area.
''I am running an eatery,and people visitors including tourists used to pass by this area ,but they stopped after the incident,'' he said.

Ali Kiti, a bodaboda rider lamented that his business has been mostly affected.

''I would make upto Sh1500 profit, but not anymore, ''said said.