Kenyan ‘Cult Leader’ On Trial Over Death Of 400 Followers

Kenyan ‘Cult Leader’ On Trial Over Death Of 400 Followers

The leader of a Kenyan doomsday cult, Paul Nthenge Mackenzie was on Monday arraigned on charges of terrorism over the deaths of more than 400 of his followers.

Self-acclaimed Pastor Mackenzie appeared in court in the Indian Ocean port city of Mombasa along with 94 co-defendants in a macabre case that shocked the country and the world, AFP reported.

Journalists were barred from the courtroom shortly after the commencement of the hearing to enable a protected witness to take the stand.

Mackenzie, who was arrested in April 2023 is alleged to have incited his members to starve to death in order to “meet Jesus”.

He and his co-accused faced charges of murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, child torture, and cruelty in separate cases, and unanimously pleaded not guilty to the charges of terrorism at a hearing in January.

The remains of more than 440 people have been unearthed so far in a remote wilderness inland from the Indian Ocean coastal town of Malindi, in a case that has been dubbed the “Shakahola forest massacre”.

Autopsies carried out on 100 bodies have found that while starvation appeared to be the main cause of death, some of the victims, including children were strangled, beaten, or suffocated.

Previous court documents also said that some of the bodies had their organs removed.

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