A family in Kakamega is going through a difficult time as they search for their four missing children who accompanied their mother on a doomed pilgrimage to Shakahola. Millicent Maurine Ajai had told her husband Antony Omuholo that she was taking their four children to visit her mother in Siaya County.
However, Ms Ajai did not return home after the Easter holidays, and the family has since learned that she had joined a controversial cult in Malindi County. She claimed that she was fasting to death so that she could meet God.
Ms Ajai was eventually rescued by police who were investigating the Good News International Church in Malindi. However, the whereabouts of her children remain unknown, and their family is fearing the worst. The children, aged between two and 12 years, may have been among the hundreds of people who were either starved to death or killed in the church.
Ms Ajai had joined the cult in 2018 after being introduced to it by a neighbor in Kaloleni. Her family noticed this when she blocked her children from being inoculated against polio and fought with medics and authorities. She was eventually arrested, and the children were put under the watch of authorities. She was released six months later, allegedly with the help of the same church that bailed her out of prison.
Last year, Ms Ajai and her husband visited his parents three times, and they all looked promising and healthy. However, a day after Easter this year, their neighbor called Ms Ajai’s mother-in-law, Scolastica Siria, to inform her that Ms Ajai had gone to join the controversial church with her children. When Ms Siria asked her son about it, he told her that his wife had informed him that she went for spiritual nourishment on the Coast and not to visit her mother as planned.
Ms Siria was shocked and instructed her son to process a police abstract and proceed to Malindi to join his cousin in following up on the matter with the homicide unit, DCI detectives, and other security personnel in the Shakahola forest. They managed to rescue Ms Ajai, who was in a coma and taken to the hospital. However, she lost her five-month pregnancy in the process. When she was asked about her four children, she told her husband that she had left them in the hands of another woman who was not fasting.
The children’s grandfather and father are now in Malindi looking for them. Ms Siria fears that the children may have been killed since children were being forced to fast, and those who could not were beaten to death. Some narratives suggest that a mother kills her children before she begins the fast. The family remains in agony as the search for the children continues.