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More than 20 bodies found in 'starvation cult' who stopped eating to 'meet Jesus'

NewsMore than 20 bodies found in 'starvation cult' who stopped eating to 'meet Jesus'

Over 20 bodies have been exhumed as part of an investigation into a suspected Christian “starvation cult”. Police are investigating a preacher in Kenya who is said to have told his followers to starve to death to “meet Jesus”.

Children are among the 21 bodies found in the graves.

They were found near the coastal town of Malindi, in Shakahola forest, where 15 members of the Good News International Church were rescued last week. Four of them died before they could reach hospital.

Police expect more bodies to be found.

Preacher Paul Mackenzie Nthenge is being held in police custody, and was identified as the “cult leader” by state broadcaster KBC.

Mr Mackenzie has denied wrongdoing, but has been refused bail.

He insists that he shut down his church in 2019.

He stands accused of telling his followers to starve themselves in order to “meet Jesus,” and is set to appear in court.

Local media reports that pathologists will take DNA samples and conduct tests to determine whether the victims died of starvation.

According to The Standard, Mackenzie named three villages as Bethlehem, Nazareth and Judea.

Victor Kaudo of the Malindi Social Justice Centre told Citizen TV: “When we are in this forest and come to an area where we see a big and tall cross, we know that means more than five people are buried there.”

Titus Katana, a former church member, helped police identify the graves, telling the same outlet: “We have shown the graves to the police, and in addition, we have saved the life of a woman who only had a few hours left, otherwise she’d also be dead.”

Last month police arrested and later released Mackenzie for encouraging the parents of two boys to starve and suffocate their children to death.

He claimed to be unaware of the events that led to the boys’ death, and said he was the target of hostile propaganda from his former colleagues.

Mackenzie has also staged a hunger strike within police cells, with NTV reporting he has not eaten for four days since his arrest.

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