73 Dead In Kenyan Cult Who Starved Themselves For 'Heaven'

Kenyan Police Discover 73 Bodies Of Alleged Christian Cult Followers Who Starved Themselves To ‘Go To Heaven’

Police in Kenya have recovered 73 bodies from mass graves believed to be members of a Christian cult. Reports say the people found thought they’d go to heaven for starving themselves to death. The mass death follows the second arrest of the alleged cult leader earlier this month.

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The death toll could increase further, as the Kenyan Red Cross said 112 people in the area had been reported missing, per Reuters. However, Charles Kamau, the head detective in Malindi, Kilifi County, told Reuters seventy-three is where the death toll stands as of Monday.

Kenyan Cult Leader Promised Followers They Would “Meet Jesus” If They Stopped Eating

Local police first arrested Makenzie Nthenge, the cult’s leader, which Reuters also named Paul Mackenzie, in 2017.

In March 2023, he was arraigned for “the alleged death of two children who are believed to be starved,” per the Directorate of Criminal Investigations-Kenya.

Officials released Makenzie on an SH10,000 cash bail, but police arrested him again on April 14. Police began sweeping the area after receiving a tip-off from the public about a series of shallow graves that reportedly contained the bodies of at least 31 Good News International Church followers.

Detective Kamau said three others were recently arrested concerning the case, but no further details were provided.

Meanwhile, Reuters says local news channel NTV reported the police arrested one of the people on suspicions of being closely associated with Makenzie.

Eight Survivors Later Died From Starvation

Hours before Reuters reported, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations-Kenya had confirmed the death toll as 58 on Monday. The DCI also added that 33 people had been rescued thus far.

” In a briefing to the IGP, the Director of Homicide at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations Mr. Martin Nyuguto said that he believed that there were more bodies buried in shallow graves scattered across the 800-acre forest which has since been sealed off as a crime scene. Mr Nyuguto added that his team had identified other sites where more bodies are believed to have been buried and they were conducting the exhumation exercise systematically…,” the DCI tweeted.

Most people were found in mass graves, alongside eight survivors initially found alive and suffering from starvation. While visiting the crime scene on Monday, the country’s police chief Japhet Koome revealed the survivors later died.

Koome added 14 other cult members were in police custody.


Cult Leader In Jail As Police Investigate, Reportedly Refusing Food And Water

The cult leader was arraigned a day after his arrest on April 14. A judge reportedly allowed authorities 14 days to conduct their investigation as Makenzie Nthenge remains incarcerated.

According to local Kenyan news outlets, he has reportedly refused food and water since his detention.

When asked about Nthenge, Kenyan President William Ruto called him a “terrible criminal” posing as a pastor.

“Mr. Mackenzie … pretends and postures as a pastor when in fact he is a terrible criminal,” said Ruto.

President Ruto said he has requested that any relevant agencies investigate how such a tragedy could occur. Additionally, the president wants to stop “people who want to use religion to advance weird, unacceptable ideology in the Republic of Kenya that is causing unnecessary loss of life.”

Reuters reports that they were unable to reach Mackenzie’s lawyers or representatives.


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