Kenya: State to Meet Cost of DNA Tests for Shakahola Victims

Exhumation of bodies of cult leader, Paul McKenzie Nthenge's followers in Shakhahola massacre scene in Kilifi.

Malindi — The relatives of the Shakahola massacre victims will not be required to pay for DNA tests, Chief Government Pathologist Johansen Oduor said Wednesday.

Briefing the media on the status of post-mortem examinations for victims of embattled Malindi preacher Paul Mackenzie's cultic teachings, Oduor said that since the tests were being done for investigations purposes, no relative would be required to pay for them.

He said 22 families turned up for the purposes of having their DNA taken Wednesday so that when the autopsies are over, they would be able to compare the DNA from the deceased persons with those of the relatives.

This brings to 49 the number of families who had provided samples for DNA tests since 27 families turned up for the exercise Tuesday.

"Being that it is something that is under investigations because of justice, I don't think any relative will be told to meet any cost," he said.

Dr. Oduor said his team conducted autopsies on 36 bodies (16 children and 19 adults) on Wednesday, bringing the number of bodies to 76 since the exercise began on Monday. The experts were unable to determine the age of one of the bodies due to its level of decomposition.

He said 23 bodies were severely decomposed while 11 were moderately decomposed and two were mildly decomposed. They belonged to 17 males and 19 females.

The government pathologist said 23 of the victims died of starvation while four had asphyxias, indicating they were denied oxygen before they died.

He said the pathologists could not establish what caused the deaths of seven of the victims while one child had a head injury and one adult died of kidney and heart disease.

Oduor said all of the bodies had their internal organs intact.

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