Death toll from extreme fasting now reaches 98

The figures from the Shakahola Forest are sinking Kenya deeper into horror every day. In the east of the country, eight new bodies were exhumed on Wednesday, bringing to 98 the death toll within a sect which advocated extreme fasting to “meet Jesus”.

After announcing on Tuesday evening a pause in the search for mass graves to conduct autopsies and unclog the morgues, the authorities resumed the excavations on Wednesday morning. “We had a lot of difficulty today with the rain but in the end we got eight bodies out,” a police source said on Wednesday evening, adding: “We will continue operations tomorrow.”

Self-proclaimed ‘Pastor’ imprisoned

Research has so far found 39 people alive in the vast area of ​​”bush” of 325 hectares squared by investigators, said the prefect of the region Rhoda Onyancha. A total of 22 people were taken into custody, she added.

Paul Mackenzie Nthenge, the self-proclaimed “pastor” of this sect called the Good News International Church, is in prison after surrendering to the police on April 14, during the first police operations in the forest. He is due in court on May 2.

A majority of children among the victims

The revelation of what is now called the “Shakahola Forest Massacre” has sparked amazement in Kenya and many calls for a crackdown on sects in the predominantly Christian country. The police are discovering the extent of this “massacre” every day, in which the majority of children appear, said three sources close to the investigation. According to Hussein Khalid, director of the NGO Haki Africa which alerted the police to the activities of Paul Mackenzie Nthenge, the “pastor” had recommended starving the children first, then the women and finally the men before the end of the world who was supposed to come in June.

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