Officials have recovered more than 200 emaciated bodies from mass graves in Kenya reportedly belonging to members of a starvation cult who were encouraged to starve themselves to gain salvation.
Authorities were alerted to the possibility of mass graves on a sprawling 800-acre property within the Shakahola forest in eastern Kenya owned by leader of the Good News International Church, Paul Mackenzie Nthege, in April. Nthege allegedly taught his followers that if they starved themselves they would go to heaven.
Since then, 201 bodies have been recovered from mass graves on the property, with 610 people still being reported missing by their families, CBS News reported. Recovery efforts have also managed to locate some survivors, all of whom were “too weak to walk” when authorities found them, the outlet stated. (RELATED: ‘Terrible System’: North Korean Defector Who Nearly Starved To Death As A Child Rips Socialism)
The death toll linked to a doomsday cult in Kenya hit 201 Saturday after police exhumed 22 more bodies, most of them bearing signs of starvation, according to the coast regional commissioner. https://t.co/zq967SGWKo
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 13, 2023
Autopsies were conducted on more than 100 of the bodies recovered in the investigation, revealing the victims died of strangulation, suffocation and blunt force trauma as well as starvation, the outlet reported. Some of the bodies of those autopsied were children, Barrons reported.
Nthege was arrested in April and remains in custody as the investigation into the deaths continues. The former alleged cult leader, his wife and 16 other suspects are due to appear before a Kenyan court at the end of May, CBS News reported.
Coast Regional Commissioner Rhoda Onyancha told Barrons that a total of 26 people have been arrested in connection with the deaths. Many of these were part of an “enforcer gang” that was tasked with ensuring no one broke their fast or escaped the sprawling property.