The story of the Kenyan cult massacre due to false beliefs, has taken the internet by storm wherein a group of people believes that they can go to heaven if they starve themselves.
President William Ruto declared that the failure of Kenyan government institutions to stop the hunger deaths of more than 200 members of a cult in the country's coastal area was his fault, Jerusalem Post reports.
The head of the Good News International Church, Paul Mackenzie, is accused by authorities of urging his adherents to starve themselves and their children to death so they might enter paradise before the end of the world.
Eight of the 201 perished from starvation after being rescued, while the remainder were primarily unearthed from mass graves in Shakahola Forest in Kilifi County in the southeast of the country. One of the deadliest cult-related tragedies in recent memory, with 201 fatalities so far.
"It should not have happened when we have all the agencies. We have our intelligence, we have our CID (Criminal Investigations Department), we have chiefs and all the other people in the whole of that ecosystem, " Rotu said, according to Reuters.
Mackenzie's operations should not have gone unnoticed, according to Ruto, given the presence of government organizations in the area, such as the police, intelligence services, and the local administration. He was detained earlier this year on suspicion of starving and suffocating two infants to death before being freed on bail.
After Mackenzie was released, according to family members of his followers, he went back to Shakahola Forest and changed his estimated end-of-the-world date from August to April 15. Authorities searched the woodland where the church was located and saved 15 individuals who had been starving themselves, Mackenzie turned herself in to police on April 14.
A judge denied Mackenzie bail last week. He turned himself in to police last month, but has not yet been asked to make a plea.
According to Mackenzie's attorney, George Kariuki, the purported pastor was helping with the inquiry. Ten days ago, Ruto established a task force to evaluate laws controlling religious organizations and a commission to investigate the fatalities in Shakahola.
Last April, 73 bodies suspected to be those of members of a Christian cult who believed they would enter paradise by starving themselves were found by Kenyan police, largely from mass graves in a woodland in eastern Kenya.
As exhumations have been conducted, the death toll, which has risen repeatedly, could increase even more. At a tracking and counseling center it has set up at a nearby hospital, the Kenyan Red Cross said that 112 persons have been reported missing.
In an 800-acre section of the Shakahola forest, members of the self-declared Good News International Church had been residing in many remote villages.
Who is Paul Mackenzie?
Paul Mackenzie, once a cab driver, underwent a transformation two decades ago when he claimed to have received a divine calling to become an evangelical pastor and establish his own church, La Monde reports. However, recent investigations have raised suspicions that Mackenzie may have manipulated and influenced over 120 of his followers, leading them to perish due to starvation. These distressing allegations cast a dark shadow over Mackenzie's religious pursuits, leaving authorities concerned about the extent of his influence and the tragic consequences that unfolded.
Following a tip-off that suggested the existence of shallow graves holding the deaths of at least 31 of his followers, the cult's leader, Paul Mackenzie, was detained on April 14. Koome said that 14 further cult members were being held by the police. Mackenzie was charged on April 15 in the Malindi Law Courts, where the judge granted the police 14 days to undertake their inquiries while Mackenzie was being held in jail. According to Kenyan media, he is denying himself food and drink.
Mackenzie falsely presents himself as a pastor while engaging in criminal activities.