Body count in Kenyan cult starvation on the increase

The police in Kenya have so far recovered 73 bodies mostly from mass graves in a forest in the eastern part of the country.

The bodies are thought to be those of followers of a Christian cult that believes its members will go to heaven if they starve themselves, according to authorities.

The Kenyan Red Cross said 112 people have been reported missing to a tracing and counselling desk it has set up at a local hospital.

The followers of Good News International Church have been living in secluded settlements in a 324-hectare area within the Shakahola Forest.

Paul Makenzie Nthenge, believed to be the leader of the church, was nabbed on April 15 after the discovery of four people believed to have starved themselves to death.

Nthenge allegedly told his followers to starve themselves in order to meet Jesus Christ. Local media described Nthenge as a cult leader when the first 58 graves were discovered.

One of the graves is believed to contain the bodies of five members of the same family, including three children and their parents.

Nthenge has denied wrongdoing, insisting that he shut down the church in 2019. He has since been refused bail.

Nthenge allegedly named three villages Nazareth, Bethlehem and Judea and baptised followers in ponds before telling them to fast, according to reports.

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