KNCHR calls on govt to proceed with Shakahola exhumation process

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) Chairperson, Roseline Odede. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) has called on the government to order the pending exhumation of bodies from Shakahola to save the affected families the anguish of determining the fate of their missing families.

The commission's chairperson, Roseline Odede, urged the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and National Administration to ensure the exhumation process proceeds, saying it's a violation of human rights.

"Immediately order the resumption of the pending exhumations to facilitate the conclusion of investigations and release of the bodies to their next of kin for burial and closure," said Odede.

She noted that delayed resumption of the exhumation process at Shakahola will negatively impact DNA sampling on decomposed bodies which further violates cultural burial rights.

The commission further established that the followers were compelled to burn their Identity Cards and other vital documents.

Odede has urged the government to facilitate survivors to regain vital documents destroyed due to indoctrination and radicalisation.

The commission noted that the Shakahola incident exposed the level of unpreparedness of the government to address such a crisis, calling for more establishment of rescue and rehabilitation infrastructure across the country.

"The Commission came across 25 children aged between 1 year and 17 years being held at a rescue center in Malindi.”

A number of them said their parents were still alive and in police custody, while others were unaware of the fate of their parents or siblings. It is important to reunite the children with their kin, " the chair said.

"Establish a multi-agency/multi-stakeholder de-radicalization and rehabilitation plan to facilitate the reintegration of the survivors into their homes, families, and communities."

The commission has responded after observing the state of the Shakahola massacre and the victims of the Good News International Ministries headed by Pastor Paul Mackenzie.

Mackenzie and some of his followers are still in police custody awaiting sentencing.