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7 Feb, 2024 10:10

Kenyan doomsday cult leader charged with mass murder

Paul Mackenzie is accused of ordering hundreds of his followers to starve themselves to death
Kenyan doomsday cult leader charged with mass murder

Kenyan cult leader Paul Mackenzie has been charged with murdering 191 children, whose bodies were found buried in a forest. He had already been charged with committing acts of terror, child cruelty, and torture.

On Tuesday, a court in the coastal town of Malindi also charged 29 of Mackenzie’s followers, although one was found to be mentally unfit to stand trial.

All of the accused had undergone mental health evaluations in accordance with the orders of a judge last month. The defendants deny the charges and are scheduled to appear before the court on March 7 for a bond hearing. 

Paul Mackenzie allegedly instructed his followers to starve themselves to death so that they would “meet Jesus Christ before the end of the world.” However, autopsies show that some of the victims died from strangulation or suffocation.

Exhumations that took place over the course of several months uncovered 429 bodies, including those of 191 children.

Mackenzie is alleged to have forced his followers to destroy their identification documents and forbade them from interacting with anyone outside the cult community.

He was arrested last April after police rescued 15 emaciated church members and the first bodies were discovered in shallow graves located in the Shakahola forest area in the coastal county of Kilifi.

The cult leader had previously been accused of delivering extreme sermons and responsibility for the deaths of two children in 2017 and 2019. In the first case, he was cleared of all charges. He was released on bail pending trial in relation to the second case.

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