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Kenyan Cult Leader, Paul Mackenzie to Undergo Mental Health Checks

On Wednesday, Doomsday cult leader Paul Mackenzie and 30 of his followers were brought before a Kenyan court in the seaside town of Malindi on charges of murdering 191 children.

Mackenzie and the other accused did not enter pleas because High Court Judge Mugure Thande agreed prosecutors’ request that they undergo mental tests before returning to court on February 6.

According to the prosecution’s charge sheet, 180 of the 191 murdered children’s bodies have yet to be identified.

Mackenzie and some of his followers have been blamed for the deaths of 429 Good News International Church members, many of whom are said to have starved themselves in the hope of meeting Jesus Christ before the end of the world.

The victims were discovered in dozens of shallow graves on an 800-acre (320-hectare) ranch in the secluded Shakahola Forest of the coastal district of Kilifi.

The graves were discovered after authorities rescued 15 emaciated church members who told investigators that Mackenzie had commanded them to fast till death before the world ended. Four of the fifteen died after being transported to the hospital.

Autopsies on several of the victims buried in the graves revealed that they died of malnutrition, strangling, or asphyxia.

Kenya’s chief prosecutor announced on Monday that 95 people will face charges for murder, abuse, child torture, and other offenses.

Since the suspects’ arrests in April, prosecutors have sought a Kilifi court for permission to keep them in custody while the investigation is ongoing. However, this week, Principal Magistrate Yousuf Shikanda denied their last plea to keep the suspects for an extra 60 days, stating that the prosecutors had been given enough time to conclude the investigation.

Mackenzie is also serving a one-year prison sentence after being convicted of running a film studio and creating films for his preaching without a legitimate license.

Mackenzie allegedly urged church members to relocate to Shakahola Forest to prepare for the end of the world.

According to a Senate committee investigation, Mackenzie chose the spot because it was remote.

“Once inside the villages established by Mackenzie, followers were not allowed to leave the area, nor interact within themselves,” the report said.

“The followers were required to destroy vital documents, among them national identity cards, birth certificates, certificates of title to property, academic certificates and marriage certificates,” creating problems in identifying the dead, the report said.

Written by PH

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