Written by on April 25, 2023

Kenyan police have continued to recover more bodies from mass graves in a forest in eastern Kenya, thought to be followers of a Christian cult who believed they would go to heaven to see Jesus if they starved themselves.

Paul Mackenzie Nthege, the leader of the cult, known as the Good News International Church was arrested after police received a tip-off that his vast land on the Shakahola forest in the Kilifi County of eastern Kenya, contained mass graves.

Police have spent days scouring the Shakahola forest near the coastal town of Malindi, and 10 more bodies were recovered on Tuesday including three children, as emergency workers clad in white jumpsuits exhumed their remains from shallow graves and also found two emaciated survivors.

There are fears the numbers could rise as the Kenya Red Cross said about 200 people had been reported missing to its staff at Malindi.

Kenya’s President William Ruto branded Mackenzie a “terrible criminal,” whose actions were “akin to that of a terrorist.”

As the fatalities mounted, authorities at the state-run Malindi Sub-County Hospital warned Tuesday that the morgue was running out of space to store the bodies and already operating well over capacity.

The case has sent shockwaves through Kenya and the government has vowed tighter regulations on religious bodies and organisations.

Kenya is a deeply religious country and has had problems in the past with unregulated churches and cults.

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