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Aid groups warn death toll from Kenyan cult could rise with 213 people missing

Aid groups warn death toll from Kenyan cult could rise with 213 people missing
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Wednesday, 26 April, 2023, 20:48

At least 90 bodies have been found at the ranch of a pastor in Kenya who is accused of telling his followers to starve themselves to death to meet Jesus, and the death toll could rise with the Kenya Red Cross Society saying 213 people are missing.

The new figure came after police exhumed 17 more bodies. The total number of those rescued while starving at the ranch now stands at 34.

The Kenya Red Cross Society’s latest figure on the number of missing is 213.

Pastor Paul Makenzi, who heads the Good News International Church, is accused of luring his followers to the ranch near the town of Malindi. He allegedly told them to fast to death in order to meet Jesus before burying them in shallow graves spread across his land. He was arrested after police raided the property earlier this month, and he remains in police custody.

Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki said that the security team will “upscale search and rescue missions to save as many lives as possible.”

“The entire 800-acre parcel of land that is part of the Shakahola ranch is hereby declared a disturbed area and an operation zone,” Kindiki said while visiting the area.

The minister said there would be a turning point in how the country handles threats caused by religious extremism and was looking into another suspected cult in the same Kilifi county.