Listen to this article At Least 47 People Die After Kenyan Cult Leader Instructs Followers to Fast Until Death
A cult leader instructed his followers to starve themselves and kill their children, promising they would “meet Jesus.” As a result, local officials have confirmed that they found the bodies of at least 47 people in southeast Kenya. The bodies were discovered in shallow graves in the Shakahola forest near Malindi, a coastal town about 100 kilometers northeast of Mombasa. There are concerns that the death toll could rise to over 100.
Details of the Investigation
Police have confirmed that the bodies were discovered in shallow graves in the Shakahola forest near Malindi, a coastal town about 100 kilometers northeast of Mombasa. Authorities suspect that at least 58 graves are related to the Good News International Church. The majority of the victims are believed to be children.
One grave contained the bodies of three children with their father on one side and their mother on the other. Another grave held the bodies of a woman and a girl, both facing each other. Investigators believe that all victims died within the past few weeks.
Arrests and Rescues
Police arrested Pastor Paul Mackenzie Nthenge in late March after tracing a tip to him. The tip indicated that he was radicalizing and brainwashing people to starve their children to death so that they could “see God in the future.” Six of his followers also remain in police custody.
During the investigation, authorities rescued 15 church members, but four of them died before reaching the hospital. This brought the death toll to at least 51. Some other followers fled when police arrived and authorities have yet to find them.
The Cult Leader’s Ideology
Mackenzie previously expressed that “education is evil” and was arrested in 2017 after police raided his church and rescued over 90 children. Some described his teachings as satanic, while others defended him using quotes from the Bible. Mackenzie was released and relocated his church to Shakahola.
Cult Leader’s Current Condition
Mackenzie, who is currently on a hunger strike, and has not consumed any food or water, according to a police source.
Crisis Support Resources
If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis related to suicide, mental health, or substance use, please seek help immediately. In the United States, you can call or text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 to speak with a counselor in your area. If you are in Kenya, call Befrienders at 722178177.
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