47 corpses exhumed by police in investigation of Kenyan cult accused of causing starvation
On Sunday, Kenyan police announced that they had discovered the bodies of another 26 suspected members of a cult in the eastern part of the country, raising the total number of linked corpses to 47. Search personnel wearing white protective suits and equipped with masks were seen digging at the site near the coastal town of Malindi, searching for more bodies. The head of criminal investigations in Malindi, Charles Kamau, stated that the search wasn’t just for corpses, but for cult survivors as well. A forest area of 800 acres near Malindi’s Shakahola has been cordoned off for the operation. Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki said that he would be visiting the site on Tuesday. After the discovery of the first bodies, police launched a full investigation into the Good News International Church, to which the cult members belonged. The church’s leader, Makenzie Nthenge, was apprehended and charged last month. According to local media, he urged his followers to abstain from eating to “meet Jesus.” The police have purportedly apprehended six additional Nthenge supporters. Hussein Khalid, a Haki Africa member, claimed that one church member, whom the authorities had discovered, had refused to consume anything even though she was visibly in distress. Khalid urged the government to send troops to assist in the search to locate the believers who might be starving themselves to death. However, Kindiki argued that sufficient security forces had been dispatched, and the entire 800-acre forest was considered a crime scene. He stated that the “Shakahola Forest Massacre” represented a clear violation of the legally guaranteed right to religious freedom. He further stated that there needed to be closer regulation, including self-regulation, of all religious institutions in the future.
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