Death Toll Climbs To 90 In Kenya Church That Believes ‘Hunger Only Way To Meet Jesus’
Death toll from a Kenyan Church, Good News International Church headed by Paul Mackenzie has climbed to 90 on Tuesday, including many children, as police said investigators were pausing the search for bodies because the morgues were full.
The mass deaths allegedly occurred among followers of the Kenyan Preacher after the worshipers were convinced and believed that they would go to heaven if they starved themselves.
Kenya Interior Minister, Kithure Kindiki said on Tuesday that the total numbers of recovered bodies from the mass shallow graves now stand at 90.
Kindiki said three more people had been rescued alive, bringing the total number of survivors found so far to 34.
It was observed that the death toll may rise further as Kenyan Red Cross stated that more than 200 people had been reported as missing to a tracing and counselling desk it has set up at a local hospital.
Kenya authorities have carried out exhumations of mass graves found in an 800-acre area of the Shakahola forest in eastern Kenya where Paul Mackenzie led Good News International Church is situated.
The Church leader, Paul Mackenzie, was arrested on April 14 following a tip-off alongside another 14 cult members currently in custody.
Reuters news reports indicated that Kenyan media have reported that Mackenzie is refusing food and water. But Paul Mackenzie was seen with a bottle of mineral water when led out of court recently.
Paul Mackenzie, it was gathered that he won the trust of his congregation who took his words as though they come from God by thus convincing them that when they fast and die, they are going to see Jesus.
Close watchers said, in the spirit of meeting Jesus, his followers quit jobs, sold their assets, donated their money to him, their title deeds, then started their dry fasting.
The discovery of the mass graves in Shakahola forest near the coastal town of Malindi has left many in shock, as the Church leader, Paul Mackenzie Nthenge accused of driving his followers to death by preaching that starvation was the only path to God.
There are fears more corpses could be found as search teams unearthed 17 bodies on Tuesday, with investigators saying children made up the majority of victims of what has been dubbed the “Shakahola Forest Massacre.”