Saturday 15th Jun 2024
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Kenya

Kenyan Cult Leader to be Charged for Deaths of 191 Children

A Kenyan judge ruled Wednesday that a cult leader accused by Kenyan authorities of instructing his followers to starve to death must have his mental status assessed before prosecutors in the country file 191 counts of child murder.
The case came to light after a large number of people were found buried in the Shakahola forest in southeastern Kenya, in April. The area is home to many followers of Paul Nthenge McKenzie, a cult leader who started preaching on TV after working as a taxi driver.
McKenzie explained to his followers that the Shakahola wilderness was a safe haven for evangelical Christians from future destruction. Kenyan authorities said McKenzie had instructed his followers that they could meet Jesus by starving to death. A large number of people have been found dead in the area, including more than 400 bodies, the agencies said.
McKenzie was produced before a court in the Kenyan coastal city of Malindi. He denies all the charges against him. Judge Miguire Thande, who is hearing the case, has given prosecutors until Feb. 6 to prove that McKenzie and his co-defendants are fit to stand trial.
The prosecutor's office has released details of the charges against McKenzie and 30 others. The charges included 191 counts of child murder.
Kenyan pathologists said many of the bodies showed starvation as the cause of death. Some of the bodies showed signs of strangulation.
A survivor of Makenzie’s cult told the New York Times that McKenzie told his followers that children should die first. He also said the children should "fast" in the sun to die sooner, something he said the children's parents would have to do to ensure they would get to heaven sooner, according to the former member of Makenzie’s cult.