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Doomsday cult chief Paul Mackenzie seems in Kenyan courtroom charged with murdering 191 kids | World Information

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A doomsday cult chief in Kenya has been charged with the murders of 191 kids after their our bodies had been discovered within the forest the place his church was primarily based.

Paul Mackenzie allegedly instructed his followers to starve themselves to loss of life so they might meet Jesus Christ earlier than the world ends.

The children were among 429 bodies that had been discovered over the course of months of exhumations throughout tens of hundreds of acres of the Shakahola Forest within the coastal county of Kilifi.

The exhumations started after the first bodies were discovered in April 2023 – with the quantity that was ultimately discovered making the case one of many worst cult-related tragedies in current historical past.

Mackenzie appeared at Kenya’s Excessive Court docket on Wednesday alongside 30 of his followers who’re additionally charged with homicide in relation to the youngsters.

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Not one of the defendants entered a plea as a result of Choose Mugure Thande granted a request from prosecutors that they endure psychological well being assessments earlier than returning to courtroom on 6 February.

The stays of 180 of the 191 {dead} kids haven’t been recognized, in accordance with the prosecution’s cost sheet.

Mackenzie allegedly inspired members of his Good Information Worldwide Church to maneuver to Shakahola Forest to arrange for the top of the world.

Lots of the 429 members who died are believed to have starved themselves as a result of he instructed them to take action.

Autopsies confirmed others died from strangulation or suffocation.

Paul Mackenzie smiles as he embraces his lawyer in courtroom on Wednesday

The our bodies had been found in dozens of shallow graves on an 800-acre (320-hectare) ranch within the forest the place the church was primarily based.

A senate committee report in Kenya mentioned Mackenzie selected the realm as a consequence of its remoteness.

“As soon as contained in the villages established by Mackenzie, followers weren’t allowed to depart the realm, nor work together inside themselves,” the report mentioned.

“The followers had been required to destroy important paperwork, amongst them nationwide identification playing cards, delivery certificates, certificates of title to property, educational certificates and marriage certificates,” creating issues in figuring out the {dead}, the report mentioned.

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Police carrying the exhumed body of a victim. Pic: AP
Police carrying the exhumed physique of a sufferer. Pic: AP

Officers stand near where bodies are being exhumed. Pic: AP
Officers stand close to the place our bodies are being exhumed. Pic: AP

The graves had been discovered after police rescued 15 emaciated church members who instructed investigators that Mackenzie had instructed them to quick to loss of life earlier than the world ends.

4 of the 15 died after they had been taken to a hospital.

Kenya’s high prosecutor mentioned on Monday that 95 individuals will likely be charged with homicide, cruelty, youngster torture and different crimes in relation to the a whole bunch of deaths.

Within the months after the arrest of the defendants in April 2023, prosecutors requested a courtroom in Kilifi for permission to maintain holding them whereas the investigation continues.

However final week, Principal Justice of the Peace Yousuf Shikanda declined their newest request to carry the suspects for a further 60 days, saying the prosecutors had been given sufficient time to finish the investigation.

Mackenzie is serving a separate one-year jail sentence after being discovered responsible of working a movie studio and producing films for his preaching with out a legitimate license.

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