Authorities say 12 more bodies have been recovered, bringing death toll to 351
Police in Kenya discovered 40 more mass graves on Monday in their investigation into a starvation cult led by a pastor.
Authorities disinterred 12 more bodies as they kicked off the fourth phase of the exhumation process of followers linked to the controversial cult led by Paul Mackenzie.
Kenya’s Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki expressed deep concern as he announced that the death toll from the cult has reached 351.
“We will do everything positive to make sure another Shakahola tragedy does not occur in our country,” said Kindiki, referring to the Shakahola forest, where the graves were found.
“To the religious leaders opposing the government’s efforts to crack down on rogue preachers, we will not relent,” he added.
Kindiki said “there is no difference between rogue preachers misleading their congregation and terrorists.”
The 12 bodies recovered during Monday’s exhumation process add to the growing number of victims uncovered in the forest.
Coastal regional police commissioner Rhoda Onyancha addressed the press, revealing that the reported number of missing persons stands at a staggering 613 individuals.
The government, law enforcement agencies and concerned authorities in Kenya are working tirelessly to ensure that justice is served and to provide closure to the families affected by the devastating ordeal.
Hundreds of corpses have been found in the Shakahola forest in Kilifi County since mid-April during investigations into the cult run by Mackenzie, a pastor who leads the Good News International Church in Kenya.
He is accused of ordering his followers to starve themselves to death so they could go to heaven before the end of the world.
The investigations have revealed that some of the victims had their organs missing, which has led to suspicions of trafficking in human organs.