Terrorism charges against sect leader in Kenya

Following the deaths of more than 400 members of a fasting sect in Kenya, the leader of the sect had to stand trial on terrorism charges. The prosecution also accused self-proclaimed priest Paul Nthenge Mackenzie and 94 other defendants of being members of a criminal organization and “radicalization” on Thursday. Mackenzie did not admit guilt at the hearing.

The pastor, who heads the Christian sect International Church of Good News, is said to have encouraged his followers to starve themselves “to meet Jesus.” The cultists lived in the Shakahola forest near the coastal town of Malindi. So far, 429 bodies have been found in the region.

Former taxi driver Mackenzie was jailed in April last year after the first bodies were found in the woods. His pre-trial detention has since been extended several times. Autopsies on the bodies revealed that most of the victims died of starvation. Others, including children, appear to have been strangled, beaten to death or suffocated.

There are more than 4,000 registered churches in Kenya, and there are also religious communities allegedly founded by self-proclaimed priests and criminals. Due to the large number of deaths in the Shakahola forest, the government declared stricter sect laws.

(APA/AFP)

Source: Vienna

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