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Shakahola massacre: Women, children were violently forced to fast

 Pastor Paul Makenzi at a Malindi court. [File, Standard]

The State is seeking fresh 90 days to detain Pastor Paul Makenzi to give detectives more time to complete their investigations.

On Friday, State lawyers moved to court seeking to detain Makenzi, who they have accused of orchestrating the deaths of hundreds at his Malindi Shakahola farm, saying emerging evidence indicates that children and women were coerced or violently forced to starve to death.

“Corroborating evidence by experts shows that children and women were coerced or violently forced to starve to death to hasten their death as a consequence of radical religious ideology," said State lawyer Alex Jamii.

An earlier statement from Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji indicated that Makenzi will face terrorism and radicalisation charges.

Makenzi and his 17 suspected accomplices were arrested in connection to what has now come to be described as the Shakahola massacre.

But speaking for the first time since his arrest, Makenzi said that his alleged accomplices were strangers to him. In a brief interview, he alleged that he was a victim of hostile propaganda from the media.

Makenzi said it appears that the State was under public pressure to pin him on the murders of people whose bodies were “exhumed six kilometers from my home.”

“Their graveyards are on government land, not mine. Where is the documentary proof that the graveyards are on my land?” said Makenzi. "This is the first time I am seeing these people the police are claiming are my followers.”

Over 100 bodies the State alleges are of the parishioners of Makenzi’s Good News International Church have been retrieved from shallow graves inside Shakahola Forest in Malindi.

According to autopsy reports, the victims died of starvation, strangulation or blunt force trauma after being hit with blunt objects on the head.

Chief Government Pathologist Dr Johansen Oduor said most of the victims are children and women.

Makenzi is being detained along with his wife Rhoda Mumbua Maweu and their last-born daughter.

The State has named Robert Kahindi, Alfred Asena, Stephen Muye, Gedion Mbithi, Joseph Mbogoli, Stephen Omonde, Samart Mwakala, Lucas Owino, Zablon Atanda alias Zablon Mwana Wa Jesus and Daniel Makori alias Mteule wa Yesu as Makenzi’s accomplices.

Others are John Mark Kiara, Fredrick Karimi, Collins Kabae, David Ambwaya, Emannuel Chilume, Enos Ngala and Rhoda Mumbua.

Shanzu Principal Magistrate Yusuf Shikanda said he will rule on Wednesday next week whether or not they will be released on bond.

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