July 16, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Kenya: Doomsday cult death toll rises by 29 more to 179

The leader of the Good News International Church in Kenya remains behind bars, accused of mass deaths of his followers, whom he ordered to refuse food in order to “meet Jesus” and go to heaven.

The remains of the first victims, 50 members of a religious sect, including children, were discovered at the end of April. In addition, a group of people was seen from the plane, but they refused contacts and help, hiding in the forest. Hussein Khalid, head of the human rights organization Haki Africa, said:

“Many are still fasting and maybe someone is dying right now, despite the arrest of the preacher. That is why we are calling on the government to send troops there.”

Since then, an operation has continued in the Shakahol forest in the east of the country to search for survivors and open new graves. Last Friday, 29 more bodies of victims of the Doomsday cult were discovered. Among the exhumed corpses, 12 were children, said Reuters gravedigger at the exhumation site, who asked not to be named. Last week authorities searched for remains in shallow graves scattered throughout the Shakahol Forest and for survivors as hundreds of people are still missing.

Pastor McKenzie, head of the so-called. “Church of Good News International,” surrendered to authorities in mid-April after police reported finding the bodies of four dead in the forest. Another 11 people aged 17 to 49 were hospitalized.

Previously, he had already been detained at the beginning of the year after the media disseminated information about the death of two children. At that time, writes Reuters, Mackenzie was released on bail. According to relatives of his supporters, he returned to the Shakahol forest after he was released and pushed back his predicted end of the world to April 15, drawing criticism from some lawmakers that the security services missed opportunities to prevent mass deaths.

Hearings in his case began on May 2. Last Wednesday, a Kenyan court denied bail to the leader of the Good News International Church.

Pastor Paul Mackenzie Ntenge assured the parishioners that the end of the world was near, and in order to meet Jesus they must die of hunger. Kenyan Deputy President Rigati Gachagua said on Friday that the opening of the fasting cult was about individuals, not the institution of the church, and vowed to protect it from those who might use the scourge of the cult as a weapon. “They would like to use this little issue to defame the Church of Christ,” he said in a video posted online by Citizen TV Kenya.

But that’s not all… Some of the bodies recovered from carelessly buried graves… had no internal organs:

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