25 Deaths and Counting Linked to Alleged Kenyan Cult

Pastor is in custody, accused of encouraging followers to starve themselves
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 23, 2023 9:15 AM CDT
Cult Investigation in Kenya Yields 21 Graves
Stock image of a Kenyan savannah.   (Getty / czekma13)

Twenty-one bodies have been found so far on land owned by a pastor in coastal Kenya who was arrested for telling his followers to fast to death, per the AP. Malindi sub-county police chief John Kemboi said more shallow graves have yet to be dug up on the land belonging to pastor Paul Makenzi, who was arrested on April 14 over links to cultism. A further four people died after they and others were discovered starving at the Good News International Church. Police have asked a court to allow them to hold Makenzi longer as investigations into the deaths of his followers continue.

A tip-off from members of the public led police to raid the pastor’s property in Malindi, where they found 15 emaciated people, including the four who later died. The followers said they were starving on the pastor's instructions in order to meet Jesus. Police had been told there were dozens of shallow graves spread across Makenzi’s farm and digging started on Friday. Makenzi has been on a hunger strike for the past four days while in police custody. The pastor has been arrested twice before, in 2019 and in March of this year, in relation to the deaths of children. Each time, he was released on bond, and both cases are still proceeding through the court.

(More Kenya stories.)

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