'Starve yourselves to meet Jesus': Kenyan police arrests Christian cult leader as it exhumed 21 bodies

Sunday, 23 April 2023 (10:59 IST)
Police in Kenya have exhumed at least 21 bodies while investigating a cult whose followers are believed to have starved themselves to death.
The deceased are thought to have been followers of Christian cult leader Paul Makenzie Nthenge, who reportedly told them to starve themselves in order to "meet Jesus."
"In total since [Thursday], we have 21 bodies," a police source told the AFP news agency on Friday.
"We have not even scratched the surface which gives a clear indication that we are likely to get more bodies by the end of this exercise," the source added.
Cult leader arrested
Nthenge is the leader of the Good News International Church, which police allege "brainwashed" citizens into starving themselves to death.
The cult leader turned himself in to police and was charged last month after two children starved to death while in the custody of their parents, local media reported. He was released on bail of 100,000 Kenyan shillings ($750 or €670).
Twenty-one bodies exhumed in Kenya cult probe
Following a new tip-off, police rescued 15 followers of the cult on April 14. Four of them died before they could be taken to the hospital.
Of the 11 who made it to the hospital, three were in critical condition.
The tip-off also pointed to the existence of at least 31 more shallow graves in the Shakahola forest outside the coastal town of Malindi.
"This pastor will have to face all these charges even though he has gone on a hunger strike saying that he is praying and fasting in custody," a police source said.

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