Pastor Paul Mackenzie, an alleged hunger cult leader in Kenya, has been denied bail as more than 600 people are left missing and 200 are left dead — this after he allegedly told his followers that the world was ending in April, and that starvation was their salvation.
Accused Cult Leader In Kenya Denied Bail After Allegedly Telling Followers The World Was Ending & Starvation Was Their Salvation; Death Toll Hits 200, 600 Missing
On Wednesday (May 10), a Kenyan court ordered that alleged cult leader Paul Mackenzie remain in police custody for an additional 30 days as his case continues to be tried.
Local authorities accuse Mackenzie, the leader of the Good News International Church, of ordering his parishioners to starve their children and themselves to death for salvation, because the world was ending.
Prior to his recent court hearing, Mackenzie was first arrested earlier this year on the suspicion of the murder of two children by starvation and suffocation. However, he was released on bail.
Once he was freed, the relatives of some of his parishioners claimed that he returned to the Good News International Church, within the Shakahola forest, and told his followers that the world was soon coming to an end on April 15 — a new date from one he previously told them would be in August.
After catching news of his alleged prophecy, police raided Mackenzie’s church in the forest and ended up rescuing 15 people who had been starving themselves.
On April 14, the pastor turned himself into police. It is reported that he has not yet been required to enter a plea, and the lawyer representing him, George Kariuki, said that his client is cooperating with investigators.
Since Mackenzie’s arrest, it is reported that the death toll of his parishioners has climbed to 200, and that another 600 or so people are being reported as missing — leaving authorities to continue their search for human remains in shallow graves throughout the forest where Mackenzie’s church is based, and where his followers have been living.
It is also reported by Magistrate Yusuf Shikanda that 17 other people, including Mackenzie’s wife, have been detained in connection with the mass deaths.
And like Mackenzie, none of the other suspects are being granted bail because of the serious concerns of their release jeopardizing ongoing investigations.
Shikanda said, “Being aware of the respondents’ right to be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, I find that there is reasonable suspicion that the respondents may have committed the offenses under investigation.”