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Kenyan Cult Leader and 29 Associates Charged with Murder of 191 Persons

Kenyan Cult Leader and 29 Associates Charged with Murder of 191 Person
(Photo by SIMON MAINA /AFP)

Paul Mackenzie, a Kenyan cult leader, along with 29 of his associates, has been charged with the murder of 191 persons. The gruesome discovery of the bodies buried in a forest brings to mind the level of atrocity coordinated by the group.

The accused stood in a court in Malindi, denying the charges brought against them. However, one defendant was deemed mentally unfit for trial, adding another layer of complexity to the case.

According to prosecutors, Mackenzie allegedly instructed his followers to subject themselves and their children to starvation in a misguided pursuit of attaining heaven before the prophesized end of the world. 

Members of Mackenzie’s Good News International Church were found to have resided in secluded settlements sprawling over 800 acres within the Shakahola forest. 

Shockingly, the investigation unearthed over 400 bodies, shedding light on the magnitude of the horror that unfolded within these secretive confines.

Mackenzie’s arrest in April of the preceding year had already raised alarms, as he was initially charged with terrorism-related crimes, manslaughter, and torture. 

In a separate case, he was convicted in December for producing and distributing films without a license, for which he received a 12-month jail sentence.

Mackenzie was a former taxi driver who imposed strict mandates on his followers, forbidding them from sending their children to school and from seeking medical attention in hospitals, labelling such institutions as Satanic. 

While Mackenzie’s lawyer claims cooperation with the ongoing investigation into the deaths, the gravity of the charges and the horrors uncovered in the forest settlement cast a shadow of doubt over any potential defense.

The 30 defendants are set to return to court on March 7 for a bond hearing, as determined by the presiding judge.

Kenyan Cult Leader and 29 Associates Charged with Murder of 191 Person

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