Kenya to charge Shakahola cult leader, members with murder, terrorism
Kenya’sDirector of Public Prosecutions Renson Ingonga has approved 10 charges, including murder and terrorism, against suspects linked to the Shakahola cult massacre that claimed more than 430 lives.
The DPP said his office had reviewed the case file submitted by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI and found sufficient evidence to lay charges against 95 suspects, including the cult leaderPaul Mackenzie,arrested in connection with the tragedy.
“Upon thorough analysis of the evidence, the DPP is satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to prosecute ninety-five (95 suspects with the charges. The ODPP undertakes to expeditiously prosecute the matters in view of the great public interest involved,” ODPP said in a press statement.
Mr Ingonga has directed that the suspects be produced before the High Court and the Magistrate’s Court to face criminal charges over the tragedy that claimed the lives of the followers of the Good News International Church.
Under the Penal Code, the suspects will be charged with murder, manslaughter and assault causing grievous bodily harm.
Organised criminal activity
Under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2012 and the Prevention of Organised Crime Act 2010, the suspects will be charged with the offences of engaging in organised criminal activity, radicalisation, facilitating the commission of a terrorist act and possession of an article connected to an offence under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2012.
Under the Children’s Act, the Prevention of Torture Act and the Basic Education Act 2013, the suspects will be charged with the offences of subjecting a child to torture, cruelty to a child and contravening a child’s right to education.
Read:Children who died in Kenya cult massacre identified
Suspected Kilifi cult leader Mackenzie and his 29 associates have been in custody since May last year over the deaths.
Read:Kenya jails cult leader Mackenzie
A further 66 people who were rescued from the forest are also in prison pending investigations into their role in the massacre.
Last week, the Shanzu court gave the State 14 days to file charges against the suspects or they would be released on bail.
Kilifi County Criminal Investigations Officer David Siele told nation.africa that the first batch of Shakahola suspects would be charged at the Malindi High Court on Wednesday.
Speaking at his office, Mr Siele said the second batch would be charged with various offences, including child offences, next week.
“The suspects will be formally charged in various courts in Shanzu, Malindi and Tononoka Court in Mombasa for child offences,” he said.
The Kilifi County Criminal Investigation Department was busy on Tuesday morning as a team of detectives prepared for the arraignment.
They were due to visit the suspects at Bofa GK prison in Kilifi town to write charges and statements.