Raila denied entry into Shakahola forest

Coast
By Marion Kithi | May 05, 2023

Raila Odinga stranded at the command centre in Shakahola. [Marion Kithi, Standard]

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has been denied entry into Shakahola forest in Kilifi County where bodies of over 100 members of a cult have been recovered.

The cult's leader Paul Makenzi is said to have lured his followers into praying and fasting for long periods of time "so they can meet their maker".

While some of the victims, who included children, died from starvation, there are those who died from strangulation, according to autopsy reports.

And on Friday, the commander of the operation investigating the deaths, Mr Peter Ndung'u, asked Raila to seek permission from the Inspector General if he wanted to access the forest.

"I want to access the forest so that I can be able to see the graves, I can't travel all the way and go back without seeing the scene," Raila said.

However, the commander said the area has been declared a crime scene and allowing him through could interfere with the ongoing investigations.

"No one is allowed in the forest because the (investigation) process is delicate," said Ndung'u, the senior assistant inspector general of police.

Raila was in the company of Malindi MP Amina Mnyazi and Kilifi Woman Representative Gertrude Mbeyu.

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