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Shakahola Tragedy: Postmortem to resume on Monday

Government Pathologist said the team was exhausted after conducting a total of 45 autopsies

Post-mortem examinations on bodies of the Shakahola victims have been pushed to Monday to allow the team carrying out the autopsies a weekend’s rest, Government Pathologist Johansen, said Friday.

Speaking during the daily briefs on the progress of the autopsies, Dr. Oduor said the team was exhausted after conducting a total of 45 autopsies – 15 on Thursday and 30 on Friday, hence the decision to give the members a rest.

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“Yesterday we did fifteen autopsies and today thirty and because of the exhaustion of my team, we decided to have them rest for the weekend so that we can continue the exercise on Monday,” he said.

Dr. Oduor said that his team had conducted 30 autopsies on 22 bodies of adults and seven children, while they could not ascertain the age of one of the bodies due to severe decomposition.

“As per gender, twelve of them were male and 17 were female but we could not determine the gender of one because of decomposition also,” he said.

He said two of the bodies had features of head injuries while 23 had features of starvation, but they could not ascertain the cause of five of the victims due to severe decomposition.

“When we do autopsy, we look for facts in the body, we do not create them and if you don’t see any fact, you just say that you did not see it and because of the level of decomposition, you find that many of the organs and skin decompose to an extent that you cannot determine the cause of death,” he explained.

He said the team took DNA samples of all the bodies because relatives have not been able to identify them physically, hence the need to use scientific ways of identification, which is through DNA, while toxicology is done to see if they had consumed something else that could have contributed to their demise.

Two representatives of the civil society – one from the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) and another from Haki Africa, were allowed to witness the process unlike in phase one when only the KNCHR was allowed to have a representative.

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