Kenyan Death Toll From Starvation Cults Exceeds 200

Search teams found 22 more dead in a coastal forest, bringing the total number of fatalities in an investigation connected to a starvation-practicing Kenyan cult to 201, a government official said.

In announcing the most recent statistics on Saturday, Coast Regional Commissioner Rhoda Onyancha claimed 26 persons had been detained in connection with the fatalities, including Mackenzie and a “enforcer gang” tasked with making sure none broke their fast or survived the forested refuge. She stated that in order to refocus their efforts, investigators would stop exhumations for two days. Exhumations would then begin on Tuesday.

The majority of the bodies discovered in a jungle close to the town of Malindi on the Indian Ocean, according to police, are those of Paul Nthenge Mackenzie’s followers. The former cab driver and evangelist is suspected of encouraging his followers to starve to death “to meet Jesus.”

Mackenzie has not yet been compelled to make a plea, but on Wednesday, a court ordered that he remain in custody for another three weeks while authorities continue their investigations into what has been nicknamed the “Shakahola Forest Massacre.”

After police acting on a tip-off approached Shakahola woodland on April 14, the 50-year-old founder of the Good News International Church surrendered.

According to leading government pathologist Johansen Oduor, although malnutrition appears to be the primary cause of death, some of the deceased, including children, were strangled, beaten, or suffocated. Some of the corpses had their organs removed, according to court records filed on Monday. Police claim the suspects were involved in forced harvesting of body parts.

However, Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki advised caution, telling reporters on Tuesday that “it is a theory we are investigating”. According to Onyancha, around 600 persons, including residents of the villages near the forest, have been reported missing.

There have been concerns about how Mackenzie, a father of seven, avoided being apprehended despite having a history of extremism and prior legal troubles.

The shocking story has shocked Kenyans and prompted President William Ruto to form a task force to review laws controlling religious organizations as well as a commission to investigate the killings. At a court hearing last week, a second clergyman accused of connections to Mackenzie and the remains discovered in the forest was granted bail and freed.

The wealthy and well-known televangelist Ezekiel Odero is under investigation for a number of crimes, including murder, aiding suicide, kidnapping, radicalization, crimes against humanity, child abuse, fraud, and money laundering.

Authorities claim they have reliable evidence connecting the deaths of several “innocent and vulnerable followers” from Odero’s New Life Prayer Centre and Church to the bodies recovered in Shakahola.


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