By Humphrey Malalo
NAIROBI (Reuters) -Kenyan police on Friday started exhuming stays from greater than a dozen suspected graves within the east of the nation thought to include followers of a Christian cult who believed they’d go to heaven in the event that they starved themselves to dying.
On Thursday, murder detectives marked out patches of earth with sticks and yellow tape in Shakahola forest in Kilifi county, close to the situation the place police rescued 15 members of the Good Information Worldwide Church final week, in keeping with footage broadcast by Citizen TV.
Police started exhuming our bodies on Friday, stated Charles Kamau, a detective within the close by city of Malindi, with out giving additional particulars.
The chief of the church, Paul Mackenzie, was arrested following a tip-off that additionally urged the existence of shallow graves belonging to at the very least 31 of Mackenzie’s followers.
Mackenzie’s lawyer couldn’t instantly be reached for remark.
Police stated the 15 rescued worshippers had been instructed to starve themselves to dying so they may meet their creator. 4 of them died earlier than they reached hospital.
Titus Katana, a former member of the church, helped police determine the graves.
“We now have proven the graves to the police, and as well as, we now have saved the lifetime of a lady who solely had just a few hours left, in any other case she’d even be useless,” Katana instructed Citizen TV.
Matthew Shipeta from Haki Africa, a human rights group, stated he had seen at the very least 15 shallow graves within the forest.
Helen Mikali, the supervisor of a youngsters’s house who was additionally serving to investigators, stated she had visited a number of close by villages the place mother and father and kids had disappeared.
“Personally I’ve visited about 18 youngsters’s graves,” Mikali instructed Citizen TV. She didn’t say how she knew the graves contained the stays of kids.
Final month police arrested and later launched Mackenzie, who they recognized as Paul Nthenge Mackenzie, for encouraging the mother and father of two boys to starve and suffocate their youngsters to dying.
Throughout a court docket look in that case, Nthenge stated he was unaware of the occasions that led to the deaths of the 2 boys, including he was the goal of hostile propaganda from a few of his former colleagues, The Customary newspaper reported.