Kenyan Cult Leader Charged with Mass Murder: 429 Lives Lost, Including 191 Children

Paul Mackenzie, the head of a Kenyan cult, is accused of killing 429 people, including 191 children, the corpses of whom were discovered buried in a jungle. He was already facing charges of torture, child abuse, and terror attacks.

A court in the seaside town of Malindi prosecuted 29 of Mackenzie's supporters on Tuesday as well; however, one of them was determined to be psychologically incapable of facing trial.

In compliance with a judge's instructions last month, each of the defendants had received mental health exams. The defendants are set to appear in court on March 7 for a bail hearing; they deny the accusations. 

So that they might "meet Jesus Christ before the end of the world," Paul Mackenzie reportedly gave his followers instructions to starve themselves to death. Autopsies, however, reveal that suffocation or strangling was the cause of death for several of the victims.

Fourteen months of exhumations yielded the remains of 429 people, including 191 children.

According to allegations, Mackenzie had his members destroy their identity papers and prohibited them from communicating with anybody outside of the cult.

His arrest occurred in April of last year, after the rescue of fifteen malnourished churchgoers by the police, and the discovery of the first deaths in shallow graves in the Shakahola woodland region in Kilifi County, a coastal county.

Prior accusations against the cult leader included preaching violent sermons and being accountable for the deaths of two youngsters in 2017 and 2019. He was found not guilty of any charges in the first instance. He was given bail and freed while the second case was under trial.


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