Kenyan Families Suffer as First Bodies Freed from Starvation Cult

( – Food insecurity is a common problem on the African continent. Many of the countries are incredibly poor. As if things weren’t bad enough, a cult leader in Kenya convinced people to willingly starve to death.

Since April 2023, authorities have exhumed the bodies of over 400 followers of the Good News International Church in the Shakahola forest. On March 26, mourners flooded a hospital mortuary after their loved ones’ remains were transported there. Sadly, officials have only been able to identify 35 victims so far. Hundreds of families are still waiting for answers so that they can lay their loved ones to rest in proper graves.

Sylvanus Opodo, one of the family members, told Reuters he was “exhausted by the whole process.” He said authorities told him to “bring a hearse,” but they had “no means to transport the remains of [their] brother.”

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Roseline Odede said that the process is going so slowly that they are going to be there for 10 years. She called on the Kenyan government to “intentionally commit resources towards this process” to “give closure to families.”

Last year, Paul Mackenzie, the leader of the cult, turned himself over to authorities. He’d lived with his followers in makeshift huts deep in the forest. The cult leader divided the camp into sections and gave each one a different biblical name, like Jerusalem. He allegedly told his followers that the world was going to end on April 15, 2023, and that Satan was going to rule the Earth for 1,000 years.

Mackenzie is accused of then ordering his followers to starve their children and themselves. He allegedly told them that it was the only way he was going to be able to meet Jesus in heaven before Satan began his rule.

In February, Mackenzie and 29 of his associates were charged with the murders of 191 children. They’ve all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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