Investigators uncover 201 dead bodies linked to cult leader in Kenya
Rhodah Onyancha, the regional police chief in Kilifi, Kenya, says search and rescue teams continue to uncover bodies from the Shakahola forest which investigators attribute to a cult leader, Paul Mackenzie Nthegne.
Search teams in Kenya have uncovered 22 bodies in the Shakahola forest as part of search and rescue operations that ensued after the arrest of Paul Mackenzie Nthegne, a cult leader of the Good News International Church, police stated on Saturday.
The number of deaths attributed to Nthegne has surpassed 200 as he is suspected of telling his followers to fast till death in order to meet Jesus.
"Our forensic team was able to exhume 22 bodies today," Rhodah Onyancha, the regional police chief said to reporters.
The pastor has been accused of trafficking human organs after authorities found missing organs in the dead bodies recovered from their raid on his property in Malindi in mid-April.
Previously, Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki stated that the security forces will "intensify search and rescue operations in order to save as many lives as possible." The official added, "The entire 800-acre (320-hectare) parcel of land that is part of the Shakahola ranch is hereby declared a disturbed area and an operation zone."
The operation continues to unearth further victims of the pastor as missing reports in the local areas surge after police held Ntehgne in custody.
The Minister also revealed that this incident will spark further investigations into religious extremism in the country, as authorities, "cast the net wider to another religious organization here in Kilifi." Kindiski noted, "We have opened a formal inquiry on this religious group and we are getting crucial leads that perhaps [this] is the tip of the iceberg."