Kenya unearths more dead in search for death cult members


Kenyan officials uncovered 29 more bodies on Friday in their continuing search for victims of a doomsday cult in the country’s southeast.

The current death toll stands at 179. Authorities have spent the past week scouring the Shakahola forest for survivors and digging graves for the hundreds of people still missing.

On Wednesday, a Kenyan court granted bail to Paul Mackenzie, pastor of Good News International Church, on allegations that he encouraged his congregation to starve their children to death and then commit suicide so that they may enter heaven before the end of the world.

On Friday, local official Rhoda Onyancha said that the search had been extended to encompass more of the forest. On Saturday, we’ll resume our search for corpses.

According to a grave digger at the exhumation site who requested anonymity, 12 of the remains discovered on Friday were those of children.

The court has not yet ordered Mackenzie to make a plea. His counsel believes that his client has cooperated with authorities. Mackenzie was arrested and subsequently released on bail this year for the suspected starvation and suffocation deaths of two children.

Following his release, relatives of his followers believe he went to Shakahola Woods and shifted the date of his promised demise from August to April 15, forcing some MPs to ask if security authorities could have avoided the killings.

Kenya’s vice president, Rigathi Gachagua, remarked on Friday that the disclosure of the starving cult was about “individuals, not the institution of the church,” and he vowed to protect the church from those who would use the cult disaster as a weapon.

“They would want to use that small issue to give the Church of Christ a bad name,” he said in a video clip published online by Citizen TV Kenya.


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