Police IG orders probe into police inaction, complacency in Shakahola massacre
Saturday, 29th April 2023
The Inspector General of Police, Japhet Koome, has directed the Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) to immediately open an inquiry into claims of police inaction and complicity in the Shakahola cultic massacare, even as bodies continue to be uncovered in the vast Kilifi land.
By Friday evening, a total of 109 bodies had been recovered from the area, with police and emergency authorities still continuing a search and rescue operation.
And as Kenyans come to terms with the shocking revelations, families affected by the disaster have come out to accuse the police of failing to act on reports of dubious actions by the accused churches and pastors.
Televangelist Ezekiel Odero and Pastor Paul Mackenzie have since been arrested, but the move may have come too late as more bodies are believed to still be buried in the vast land.
A family of the co-founder of the Good News International Church which is feared to have lost seven family members in Shakahola has laid the blame squarely on the police for failing to act on numerous reports about the church’s activities.
The family of Ruth Kadzo, who was the initial founder of the church, says it raised the alarm over the safety of their loved ones in the cult multiple times but police refused to act.
Following IG Koome’s directive, IAU Director David Birech travelled to Kilifi, accompanied by senior detectives, from the unit to commence investigations.
Further, senior officers who served in the county from 2019 to date, when Mackenzie started operating within Shakahola, are scheduled to be interrogated and are expected to record statements with the IAU team on what they know about the deaths and the actions they took to prevent alleged criminal activities.
Also on Friday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki ordered the immediate transfer of all the police command to allow the probe.
“To facilitate comprehensive and conclusive investigations into the Shakahola tragedy, the Government has decided to immediately transfer all Station, Divisional, Sub-County, and County heads and commanders of all agencies in Kilifi County, ” Kindiki said.