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8 more dead children found, adults refuse to 'betray' Pastor Mackenzie

 A 40ft truck loaded with some of the bodies that were exhumed at the compound of contrioversial Pastor Paul Mackenzie in Shakahola. [Marion Kithi, Standard]

The compound of Paul Makenzie where the bodies of eight minors were retrieved on Wednesday from shallow graves is now a crime scene and cannot be accessed by members of the public.

Detectives said the dead children were aged between three and eight.

Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary Florence Bore said children were the most affected by the cult’s activities and that they will form part of the prosecution’s case.

Ms Bore said 11 children who were rescued had told detectives about the horrific experiences they underwent at the hands of their parents and Makenzi’s alleged disciples.

The CS said the testimonies would be used by the prosecution to prove its case against Makenzi.

"They were ordered not to take even water. Those who disobeyed were beaten and locked in rooms for days without food or water to drink," said Bore.

On Tuesday, two children were rescued in a hut locked from the inside. One of them had a head injury.

"One child said he was beaten by one of Makenzi's aides when he drank water," said Victor Kaudo of Malindi Community Human Rights Centre.

"The boy’s sister and brother died and were buried the previous day before we got there," Mr Kaudo said, adding that the children were traumatised and were undergoing counselling.

Coast Regional Coordinator Rodah Onyancha said the discovery of the eight bodies raised the death toll to 98. She said one woman was rescued from the forest.


Homicide detectives backed by officers from other security agencies stormed the Makenzi compound after they completed work at a neighbouring homestead called 'Bethlehem'.

This after a five-day similar exercise in a neighbouring homestead that Makenzi’s followers have christened 'Nazareth'.

Unlike in the past six days when the operation was conducted in the full glare of the media, entry into 'Bethlehem' was restricted to security personnel.

Makenzi and his accomplices are expected in court tomorrow. 

In Malindi, detectives said they were yet to unravel the mystery behind the church and its pastors who held hundreds of faithful captive, both physically and spiritually.

At Malindi Hospital, the mortuary is full and the Kenya Red Cross has installed a 40-foot container with the capacity to hold 300 bodies outside.

Kenya Red Cross records showed that 83 bodies were preserved in the mobile mortuary by yesterday. Some 17 bodies have been transferred to the Kilifi Hospital morgue.

Meanwhile, Margaret Nyaboke, who was rescued on Tuesday, is being housed at Malindi Premier School after she was treated at Malindi Hospital.

'Man of God'

Ms Nyaboke told The Standard yesterday that she would not betray Makenzi "because he was a man of God who was filled with the holy spirit".

"I was introduced to Makenzi by a close friend and I came to know him as a man of God. I relocated to Shakahola last year in December," said Nyaboke.

She said she was rescued on her fifth day of fasting. Another woman,  Catherine Wanjiru, 40, who was rescued yesterday, said she joined the Good News International Church in 2020.

The two women said they decided to go return to the forest to pray for the church and Makenzie to protect him from State persecution.

Christian Nyambane said that her sister, Evaline Kerubo, and her husband Joseph Ntabo moved to the farm last year.

"They sold their Loresho home and relocated to Shakahola together with their son and brother who was working at Wilson Airport.

"She used to tell us that money and property are worldly possessions and we will leave them here on earth," Ms Nyambane said.

Forensic experts were helped to identify the graves by Kesi Katana, who said he was a former follower of Makenzie. 

Another of the rescued people, Jacob Juma, said he relocated to Shakahola last year after leaving a note behind stating, "I'm going to meet Jesus, and I wish you well."

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