Cult chief Paul Mackenzie charged with 191 murders

A Kenyan court docket on Tuesday charged the chief of a hunger cult and dozens of suspected accomplices with murdering almost 200 youngsters in a forest close to the Indian Ocean.

Self-proclaimed pastor Paul Nthenge Mackenzie, who has already been charged with terrorism, manslaughter in addition to youngster torture and cruelty, is alleged to have incited a whole lot of his acolytes to starve to dying with a view to “meet Jesus”.

On Tuesday, Mackenzie and 29 different suspects pleaded not responsible to 191 counts of homicide, together with of three infants, in line with court docket paperwork seen by AFP.

A thirty first suspect was deemed to lack the psychological health to face trial and ordered to return to the Malindi Excessive Court docket in a month’s time.

The cult chief has pleaded not responsible to all the costs towards him. He was arrested in April final yr after our bodies have been discovered within the Shakahola forest, with the grisly discoveries upsetting horror the world over.

Autopsies revealed that almost all of the 429 victims had died of starvation. However others, together with youngsters, appeared to have been strangled, crushed or suffocated.

The case, dubbed the “Shakahola forest bloodbath”, led the federal government to flag the necessity for tighter management of fringe denominations.

A largely Christian nation, Kenya has struggled to manage unscrupulous church buildings and cults that dabble in criminality.

‘Organised felony group’

Court docket paperwork have described Good Information Worldwide Ministries based by Mackenzie as “an organised felony group (which) engaged in organised felony actions”, resulting in the dying of a whole lot of followers.

In response to a cost sheet filed final month on the Tononoka Kids’s Court docket within the port metropolis of Mombasa, Mackenzie and 38 different suspects “wilfully and deliberately” denied meals to youngsters as younger as six years previous and whipped others with thorny sticks.

Other than abuse and neglect, some youngsters have been additionally faraway from faculty and denied their proper to an training, the cost sheet stated.

Questions have been raised about how Mackenzie managed to evade regulation enforcement regardless of a historical past of extremism and former authorized instances.

A Senate fee of inquiry reported in October that the daddy of seven had confronted fees in 2017 for excessive preaching.

He was acquitted of fees of radicalisation in 2017 for illegally offering faculty educating after rejecting the formal academic system that he claimed was not in keeping with the Bible.

In 2019, he was additionally accused of hyperlinks to the dying of two youngsters believed to have been starved, suffocated after which buried in a shallow grave in Shakahola. He was launched on bail pending trial.

There are greater than 4,000 church buildings registered within the East African nation of 53 million individuals, in line with authorities figures.

Earlier efforts to manage spiritual establishments in Kenya have been fiercely opposed as makes an attempt to undermine constitutional ensures for the division of church and state.