A cult leader in Kenya has appeared in court after over 100 of his followers died due to starvation. Paul Mackenzie, 50, who leads the Good News International Church, is accused of ordering his followers to kill themselves, telling them that they could be the first to go to heaven.
Starvation cult in Kenya claims 58 deaths: police
Kenyan police have recovered 58 bodies, mostly from mass graves in a forest in eastern Kenya, thought to be followers of a Christian cult who…
Authorities say the death toll stands at 109, with 101 bodies, mostly children, found in mass graves and eight people found alive who later died. Mackenzie, who is in police custody, has not publicly commented on the accusations against him nor entered a plea to any criminal charge.
Mackenzie faces charges relating to earlier alleged offenses, but prosecutors have not yet issued a charge sheet in relation to the mass graves. Kenyan media reported that the Malindi court transferred the case to the larger port city of Mombasa.
The government’s chief pathologist said that so far, 10 autopsies had taken place, on the bodies of one adult and nine children, with most showing signs of starvation, while two children showed signs of asphyxiation.
Family members of missing people continued to flock to Malindi in search of answers. One family member said, “As a family, we have searched for about six months and had given up. It’s now we feel we can get better direction where they are, and if they are in the forest, we do not know whether they are alive or dead.”
The investigation is ongoing, and authorities say that the death toll could rise further, with more than 400 people still missing.