Kenyan Cult Leader on Trial for Starvation Deaths

Self-proclaimed pastor Paul Nthenge Mackenzie is facing charges of terrorism for allegedly inciting more than 400 of his followers to starve themselves to death in order to "meet Jesus".

Mackenzie is a former taxi driver who founded the Good News International Church in 2003. He and his co-accused all pleaded not guilty at a first hearing in January 2024. They also face charges of murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, child torture, and cruelty in separate cases.

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 the case dubbed the "Shakahola forest massacre".

In March, the authorities began releasing some victims' bodies to distraught relatives after months of painstaking work to identify them using DNA.


Exhumation of bodies of cult leader Paul McKenzie Nthenge's followers in Shakhahola massacre scene in Kilifi.

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