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Kenya cult leader, who incited followers to starve to death to ‘meet Jesus’, charged with 191 counts of murder

A Kenyan court formally accused the leader of a starvation cult and numerous suspected accomplices of murder in connection with the deaths of almost 200 individuals in a forest near the Indian Ocean.

BREAKING Kenya cult leader Paul Mackenzie, 29 others charged with murder of 191 children snt
First Published Feb 6, 2024, 3:32 PM IST

A Kenyan court on Tuesday charged cult leader Paul Nthenge Mackenzie and 29 other co-accused individuals with the murder of almost 200 people, whose bodies were unearthed from Shakahola forest near the Indian ocean in what is considered one of the country's most tragic massacres. 

Self-proclaimed pastor Paul Nthenge Mackenzie, who already faces charges of terrorism, manslaughter, child torture, and cruelty, stands accused of inciting his followers to starve to death in a bid to "meet Jesus".

Mackenzie and 29 other suspects pleaded not guilty to 191 counts of murder, according to court documents seen by AFP.

A 31st suspect was found to be mentally unfit to stand trial and was instructed to appear before the Malindi High Court again in one month.

The cult leader has entered a plea of not guilty to all charges filed against him.

His arrest in April of last year followed the discovery of bodies in the Shakahola forest, which caused shock and horror worldwide.

Autopsies confirmed that the majority of the 429 victims had succumbed to starvation. 

However, it appeared that others, including children, had been strangled, beaten, or suffocated.

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