A doomsday cult leader in Kenya is expected to face charges following the deaths of 429 individuals who were thought to have “starved themselves to death to meet Jesus.”
Self-proclaimed pastor Paul Nthenge Mackenzie was arrested in April 2023 after hundreds of bodies were discovered in shallow graves in Shakahola forest, Malindi, where the Good News International Church had been operating.
Survivors told investigators that the pastor had ordered them to fast to death before the world ended so they could meet Jesus. Kenya`s director of public prosecutions has today ordered 95 people from the doomsday cult to be charged with murder, manslaughter, radicalization, cruelty, and child torture, among other crimes.
The shocking crimes emerged when police rescued 15 emaciated parishioners from Mackenzie’s church in Kilifi County in Kenya’s southeast. The suspects also face charges, including assault, causing grievous bodily harm, and engaging in organized criminal activity.
Last year, the sprawling forest, which stretches across 800 acres of the coastal city of Malindi, was sealed off and treated as a crime scene. Victor Kaudo of the Malindi Social Justice Centre told Citizen TV then: “When we are in this forest and come to an area where we see a big and tall cross, we know that more than five people are buried there.
Kenya is a deeply religious country, but it has a history of unregulated churches and cults springing up and taking advantage of the faithful.