Death toll rises above 90 as 40-day fasting to meet Jesus turns fatal, search still ongoing
Pulse.com.ghApr 26, 2023 2:02 PM
So far, over 90 dead bodies of members of Kenyan pastor, Paul Makenzi’s Good News International Church have been discovered while 34 have been rescued, with further search ongoing following a 40-day fasting purportedly aimed at meeting Jesus.
The death toll rose after police exhumed 17 more bodies at the ranch where he has been allegedly burying the church members who die during the fasting.
Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki who visited the area said that the security team will expand the scope of the rescue mission to save as many lives as possible.
“The entire 800-acre (320-hectare) parcel of land that is part of the Shakahola ranch is hereby declared a disturbed area and an operation zone,” the minister is quoted to have said.
He added that the latest development has called for the need to crack the whip on religious bodies who are engaged in radicalism in the name of doing the work of God.
“We have cast the net wider to another religious organization here in Kilifi. We have opened a formal inquiry on this religious group and we are getting crucial leads that perhaps what was being done by Makenzi is the tip of the iceberg.”
The Kenya Red Cross Society’s latest finding reveals that no fewer than 213 members of the Good News International Church are missing.
The leader of the church, Paul Makenzi is accused of luring his followers to a ranch near the town of Malindi and telling them to fast to death in order to meet Jesus. He buries congregants who die during the process in shallow graves spread across his land.
However, his activities recently came to light and he was arrested after police raided the property earlier this month, He remains in police custody as investigations continue.
It is reported that the rescue teams digging at the ranch in question have been finding decomposed bodies buried in mass and single graves marked with a cross.
Interestingly, those members of the church who are believed to be living in mudwalled houses inside the ranch have been fleeing to avoid being rescued while mostly those who can’t walk or talk have been rescued so far, africanews.com reports.