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Death toll in the Kenyan starvation cult surpasses 400 after authorities found 12 more bodies

In a disturbing development, the death toll associated with the Kenyan cult led by pastor Paul Nthenge Mackenzie has risen to over 400, with 12 additional bodies discovered on Monday, according to Coast Regional Commissioner Rhoda Onyancha. The bodies were found during disinterments in the Shakahola forest, where Mackenzie allegedly instructed his followers to starve themselves to death as a means to “meet Jesus Christ.”

Onyancha stated that the total death toll now stands at 403, and the process of exhumation will continue as investigators search for more graves in the forest where the victims were initially discovered on April 13.

Autopsies conducted by the government have indicated that starvation was the probable cause of death for most victims. However, some individuals, including children, were found to have been choked, beaten, or suffocated.

Mackenzie, a former taxi driver turned preacher, has been in police custody since mid-April. State prosecutors have indicated that he may face charges related to terrorism or genocide, but he has not yet been required to enter a plea.

In May, Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki expressed concern that some of Mackenzie’s followers who had been rescued were refusing to eat.

Last month, a Kenyan man suspected of involvement in the deaths linked to the starvation cult died after a 10-day hunger strike while in police custody. Joseph Buyuka was among 30 individuals, including Pastor Paul Mackenzie, who were detained in connection with the deaths of church followers. The cause of Buyuka’s death was believed to be complications from hunger strike and starvation, although a postmortem report was awaited.

In June, Kenyan authorities announced plans to convert the coastal forest where the bodies of cult-related victims were buried into a national memorial. Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki stated that the forest, where grave crimes had occurred, would be transformed to serve as a place of remembrance so that the world would not forget what transpired there.


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