- Leader of fringe group arrested
NAIROBI (Agencies): Kenyan police have uncovered the bodies of another 26 people believed to be members of a cult, bringing to 47 the number of corpses linked to the movement found in three days.
“Today we have exhumed 26 more bodies and this brings the total number of bodies from that place to 47,” said Charles Kamau, head of criminal investigations in Malindi, eastern Kenya, on Sunday.
On Saturday, police sources said 21 bodies had been exhumed in Kenya in a probe into a cult whose followers are believed to have starved themselves to death.
Officials had earlier reported seven deaths in connection with the investigation in eastern Kenya following the arrest of Makenzie Nthenge, who reportedly told followers to starve themselves to “meet Jesus”.
Mr Nthenge, leader of the Good News International Church, turned himself in to police and was charged last month, according to local media, after two children starved to death in the custody of their parents.
He was later released on bail of 100,000 Kenyan shillings ($700).
Police reported his arrest on April 15 after discovering the bodies of four of his followers. Kenyan police said on Friday that they had exhumed three bodies.
Eleven other followers of the church — the youngest aged 17 — were taken to hospital, three of them in critical condition, after being rescued on April 14.
One member of the church found by the authorities had refused to eat despite clearly being in physical distress, said Hussein Khalid, a member of Haki Africa, the rights group that tipped off the police to the actions of the church.
“The moment she was brought here, she absolutely refused to be administered with first aid and she closed her mouth firmly, basically refusing to be assisted, wanting to continue with her fasting until she dies,” Mr Khalid told AFP.