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Paul Mackenzie & 16 co-accused make 2 demands in court as detention prolongs

Mackenzie and 16 others shall be detained at Malindi police station, Marereni police station, Watamu police station, Mtwapa police station and Bamburi police station

Suspected cult leader Paul Mackenzie and other suspects when they were presented in court

Shakahola deaths suspected cult leader Paul Mackenzie alongside 17 other suspects will be detained in custody for another 30 days, a Mombasa court has ruled.

Shanzu Principal Magistrate Yusuf Shikanda made the ruling to detain Mackenzie, his wife Rhoda Maweu, and 16 other suspects, citing ongoing investigations.

In an affidavit signed by the Investigating Officer, Inspector Raphael Wanjohi, detectives want Mackenzie and other suspected accomplices to give room to pursue other leads related to the case.

The suspects will continue to be held in different police stations at the Coast until investigations are wrapped up.

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During the court proceedings, Mackenzie's legal team raised concerns about the inadequate conditions their clients were subjected to, particularly the issue of sleeping on the bare floor which could potentially lead to health complications.

Led by George Kariuki, Wycliffe Makasembo, and Elisha Komora, the lawyers expressed their worries, stating, the health of their clients was at risk given the conditions they were being exposed to.

"My clients have been sleeping on bare cement floors, their lungs are already wet and they have told us that they have pains in the ribs. Chances are they have already contracted pneumonia and they will die before the commencement of the matter," said Kariuki.

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Furthermore, the defence side alleged that the suspects were being subjected to food deprivation as a form of punishment, given the accusations of starving their victims to death.

The defence team also requested the court to compel the police to account for the sum of Sh150,000 that was confiscated from Mackenzie's wife during her arrest but had mysteriously disappeared.

However, senior principal prosecution counsel Yamina Jamii responded to Mackenzie's application by asserting that the suspects were being held in comparatively comfortable conditions than where the over 100 victims of the cult were found.

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President William Ruto has since appointed a commission of inquiry to dig into the deaths which has since surpassed 100.

The mandate of the commission of inquiry will be to investigate the deaths, torture, inhumane and degrading treatment of members and other persons linked to the Good News International Church in Kilifi County, establish the circumstances under which these incidents occurred, and identify the persons and organizations who bear the greatest responsibility for the Shakahola tragedy.

The commission will also recommend specific actions that should be taken against them, including admonition, regulatory actions, reparations, or recommendations for criminal investigation.

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