Kenyan police have found the bodies of 21 people believed to be followers of a cult who believed they would go to heaven if they starved to death.
Seven bodies were found by officers near the coastal town of Malindi on Friday. A day later, 14 more were found, Detective Charles Kamau told Reuters on Sunday.
“This terrible stain on our conscience must lead not only to the harshest punishment for the perpetrator of cruelty to so many innocent souls, but also to stricter regulation of the operation of every church, mosque, temple or synagogue in the future,” said the interior minister Kenya Kithure Kindiki.
He added that the entire eight-hectare forest where the bodies were found was cordoned off and declared a crime scene.
The church leader was arrested
Earlier this month, police rescued 15 people – followers of the Good News International Church – who they said had been told to starve to death. Four of the cult’s followers died before they reached the hospital, police said.
Church leader Paul Mackenzie was arrested after receiving information suggesting the existence of graves belonging to at least 31 followers of his cult.
Local media, citing police sources, said Mackenzie refused to eat or drink while in custody.
Main photo source: Reuters