39 bodies were found in the investigation of a cult in Kenya : NPR
NAIROBI, Kenya — Thirty-nine bodies have so far been found on land owned by a pastor in coastal Kenya who was arrested for telling his followers to fast until death.
Malindi sub-county police chief John Kemboi said more shallow graves have yet to be dug on the land belonging to pastor Paul Makenzi, who was arrested on April 14 for links to cultism.
The total death toll is 43, as four more people died after they and others were discovered starving at the International Church of the Good News last week.
The Police asked the court to allow them to keep Makenzi longer as the investigations into the deaths of his followers continue.
A tip-off from members of the public led the police to raid the pastor’s property in Malindi, where they found 15 people beaten, including the four who later died. The followers said they were dying of hunger on the shepherd’s instructions in order to meet Jesus.
The Police had been told that there were dozens of shallow graves scattered around the farm of Makenzi and the digging started on Friday.
Makenzi has been on hunger strike for the last four days while in police custody.
The pastor was arrested twice before, in 2019 and in March of this year, in connection with the deaths of children. Each time, he was released from custody, and both cases are still going through the court.
Local politicians urged the court not to release him this time, and blamed the spread of cults in the Malindi area.
Cults are common in Kenya, which has a largely religious society.