Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

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NAIROBI, Kenya — Two pastors primarily based in coastal Kenya have appeared in court docket over the deaths of greater than 100 of their congregants, lots of whom are believed to have starved to demise.

Pastor Paul Mackenzie was launched by one court docket within the city in Malindi earlier than being rearrested and offered at an higher court docket within the city of Shanzu.

Mackenzie was first arrested two weeks in the past over hyperlinks to cultism for asking his followers to starve to demise with the intention to meet Jesus.

Greater than 100 our bodies have been exhumed from dozens of mass graves on his property inside Kilifi County. Kids are believed to be among the many useless, however it’s unclear what number of, as a few of the our bodies are in poor situation.

The upper court docket has approved Mackenzie’s detention till Friday, when an software to carry him for an additional 30 days pending terrorism investigations might be heard.

His spouse, Rhoda Maweu, was arrested on Monday night time from a hideout within the coastal city of Mtwapa after weeks on the run.

Autopsies on 40 of the our bodies discovered on Mackenzie’s property revealed that the causes of demise ranged from hunger to strangulation and suffocation.

Pastor Ezekiel Odero, whose church is in the identical county as Mackenzie’s, has additionally appeared in court docket. He’ll stay in custody for an additional two days as investigations proceed.

His followers trouped in giant numbers outdoors the court docket Tuesday, praying for his launch.

Odero was arrested final week in connection to the deaths of dozens of his congregants at his megachurch, which attracts 1000’s of individuals from throughout the nation.

He’s additionally being investigated for his hyperlinks to Mackenzie.

After Mackenzie closed his church in 2019, Odero purchased a tv channel from him.

Mackenzie had been charged in 2017 over the deaths of youngsters at his church. In 2019, he closed the church and moved to a ranch in a forested space of Kilifi county, the place lots of of households constructed homes.

Certainly one of his followers informed The Related Press that it was right now {that a} plan to starve until demise with the intention to meet Jesus was hatched and his followers began dying.

Human rights teams had been sounding the alarm for months till April, when police started investigating and mass graves have been found on the ranch.

At present, police are conducting search and rescue missions on the 800-acre (325 hectares) property and at a good greater ranch close by. Thus far, 48 folks have been rescued alive and 24 arrests made, in response to Coast Regional Commissioner Rhoda Onyancha.

The operation to dig for extra our bodies has stalled whilst the federal government introduced a dusk-to-dawn curfew within the space and redeployed all senior police commanders to pave the best way for a radical probe.

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