Kenya cult leader charged with terrorism


Kenyan cult leader Paul Mackenzie and 94 others have been charged with terrorism following the deaths of 429 people.

The defendants all denied the charges which were read out in a magistrates’ court in the coastal city of Mombasa.

Charges relating to child torture and assault are due to be brought at a separate court hearing.

Mackenzie – a self-proclaimed pastor – was detained in April last year after hundreds of bodies were found in mass graves in a remote forest about two hours’ drive from the coast.

Most showed signs of starvation, but some – children among them – may have been assaulted.

Mackenzie is alleged to have encouraged members of his Good News International Church to move to Shakahola forest and prepare for the end of the world.

One witness told the BBC that people were given instructions in January last year to begin fasting so that they could “get to heaven”.

But Mackenzie has said the deaths could not be blamed on him as he closed his church in 2019.

The request by the suspects’ defence lawyer for bail has been referred to another court.-BBC


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