Pastor, Others Charge With Murder Of 400 Worshippers

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Pastor, Others Charge With Murder Of 400 Worshippers

Kenyan prosecutors announced on Tuesday their intention to charge suspected cult leader, Pastor Paul Nthenge Mackenzie, and 94 other individuals with murder and terrorism related to the deaths of over 400 followers.

The charges stem from allegations that Mackenzie incited his followers to starve to death to “meet Jesus,” a case that garnered global attention.

Mackenzie was arrested in April last year after bodies were found in a forest near the Indian Ocean coast.

Despite several extensions to his pre-trial detention due to ongoing investigations, a court recently warned of potential release unless authorities proceeded with charges.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has now stated that, following a thorough analysis of evidence, there is enough to prosecute the 95 suspects, the AFP reported.

The charges against Mackenzie and his co-accused include murder, manslaughter, terrorism, and “subjecting a child to torture.” While the exact court date for the suspects is yet to be confirmed, prosecutors emphasised their commitment to expeditiously handle the matters.

Autopsies have indicated that the majority of the victims died of hunger, but others, including children, exhibited signs of strangulation, beating, or suffocation.

The grim discoveries in what has been labelled the “Shakahola forest massacre” prompted calls for increased regulation of fringe denominations in Kenya.

A Senate commission of inquiry reported in October that Mackenzie had faced charges in 2017 for his extreme preaching, but the criminal justice system failed to deter his activities.

The largely Christian nation of Kenya has grappled with regulating unscrupulous churches and cults involved in criminal activities

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