21 members die as Pastor told congregation to starve themselves
No fewer than 21 bodies have been found in southeast Kenya in connection with a pastor turn cult leader who told his followers to starve themselves and kill their children to ‘meet Jesus,’.
It’s feared the death toll could reach more than 100.
Police confirmed on Saturday that at least 21 bodies have been recovered so far from shallow graves in the Shakahola forest near Malindi, a coastal town about 100 kilometers northeast of Mombasa. Many are believed to be children.
In one grave, investigators found the bodies of three children with their father on one side and their mother on the other side. Another grave contained the bodies of a woman and a girl, both facing each other. All appeared to have died in recent weeks.
Police have identified at least 58 suspected graves on the grounds of the Good News International Church, raising fears that the death toll will rise significantly. One Kenyan media outlet reported that more than 100 people may have been buried in the graves.
“We have not even scratched the surface which gives a clear indication that we are likely to get more bodies by the end of this exercise,” a police officer said.
15 members of the church were previously rescued but four of them died before reaching the hospital. Those four are likely in addition to the 21, which would raise the death toll to at least 25. Other followers fled when police arrived and have not yet been found.
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