Kenyan cult death toll nears 200, more than 600 missing

The death toll from a doomsday cult in Kenya rose to 201 after police exhumed 22 more bodies on Saturday.

ByEVELYNE MUSAMBI Associated Press

NAIROBI, Kenya — The death toll linked to a doomsday cult in Kenya rose to 201 on Saturday after police exhumed 22 more bodies, most of them showing signs of starvation, according to the coastal regional commissioner.

The bodies are believed to be followers of Paul Mackenzie, a pastor living in Kenya. He is said to have ordered the congregations to starve to meet Jesus.

More than 600 people are still missing.

Mackenzie, who was arrested last month, remains in custody. The police intend to charge him with terrorism-related offences.

Hundreds of bodies have been exhumed from dozens of mass graves located on his 800-hectare property in the coastal Kilifi County.

Mackenzie insists he closed his church in 2019 and moved to his wooded property to farm.

Autopsies on more than 100 bodies last week revealed that the victims died of starvation, suffocation, suffocation and blunt force trauma.

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Local media reported on the lack of internal organs, referring to the investigators of the case.

Mackenzie, his wife and 16 other suspects will go on trial at the end of the month.

Coast Regional Commissioner Rhoda Onyancha said on Saturday that the total number of people arrested was 26 and 610 people were reported missing by their families.

It is unclear how many survivors have so far been rescued from search and rescue operations on Mackenzie’s vast estate. Some of them were too weak to walk when they were found.

Cults are common in Kenya, a religious society.

Police have questioned other religious leaders across the country whose teachings are misleading and against basic human rights.

President William Ruto last week set up a commission of inquiry to investigate how hundreds of people were lured to their deaths on the beach and recommend action against the defaulting institutions.

Mackenzie has been accused in the past of the deaths of church children in a case pending before the courts. Residents nearby alerted him after his followers moved to the wooded area.

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