Last Updated on September 11, 2023 by SPN Editor
Nairobi (SPN) | The unfolding Kenyan tragedy of a cult promoting starvation as the only way to connect with God has claimed 90 lives, including many children. The nation was stunned by the discovery of mass graves in the Shakahola forest near Malindi.
The cult leader, Paul Mackenzie Nthenge, is accused of convincing his followers to embrace death.
Due to the overfull mortuaries, the police have ceased the search for more bodies, but there is the possibility that more corpses will emerge.
On Tuesday, search teams found 17 more bodies, and investigators have confirmed that the majority of the victims, who have been dubbed the “Shakahola Forest Massacre,” were children.
The tragedy has prompted discussions regarding stricter regulation of religious institutions to prevent similar incidents in the future.
It has also brought up conversations on the importance of education, awareness, and mental health in recognizing and preventing the dangers of extremist groups and cults.
The victims belonged to the Good News International Church, a Christian cult that believed they would achieve heaven by starving themselves. s per the Kenyan Red Cross, it is approximated that 112 individuals remain unaccounted for, and the count of fatalities is anticipated to increase. Paul Mackenzie, the cult leader, was arrested after a tip-off about the mass graves.
In early April, the police saved 15 cult members who were instructed to starve themselves, but four of them died before reaching the hospital. Mackenzie has refused to eat or drink while in police custody. The entire 800-acre forest has been designated a crime scene.
Reportedly, the Good News International Church was established in 2012 and has been functioning in the area for several years. There are unverified reports that imply the doctrines of the cult have caused the demise of numerous adherents throughout the years.
The mass grave discovery has rattled the nation and spurred calls for greater scrutiny and oversight of religious organizations. The Kenyan government has been criticized for not doing enough to regulate such entities.
The Kenyan government has vowed to prevent such incidents in the future by reviewing the laws governing religious institutions and scrutinizing their activities. Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki has called for action to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
The families of the victims are in pursuit of justice. They are imploring an explanation regarding the prolonged operation of the cult without being detected.
Furthermore, they beseech for assistance in laying their beloved to rest and reconstructing their disintegrated communities.