27.2 C
Thursday, June 1, 2023


Kenyan president sets up inquiry into religious cult deaths

Related stories

Sudan losing dozens of babies in orphanages due to ongoing conflict

Amidst the outbreak of conflict in Khartoum, Dr Abeer...

South Africa: Veteran actor Patrick Ndlovu dies aged 85

Renowned actor Patrick Ndlovu, a veteran of the stage,...

South Africans mourn death of renowned broadcaster Eusebius McKaiser

South Africans have rushed to social media to eulogise...

Fuel-subsidy debt owed by Nigeria reaches a staggering $6bn

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has revealed that...

Hilton Hotel owner sentenced to death for murder of student

The owner of Hilton Hotel in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, Dr...

Senegal protests against arrest of opposition leader

Protesters clashed with security authorities in Dakar, Senegal, on...

21 Nigerians lost their lives each day over insecurity during Buhari’s government

Muhammadu Buhari's eight-year tenure as President of the Federal...

Opposition in South Africa seeks to prevent Putin visit

South Africa's largest opposition party has made claims on...
- Advertisement -

On Friday May 5 2023, Kenyan President William Ruto established a panel to investigate the murders of more than 100 people who are thought to have starved to death. A court also mandated the cult leader’s continued detention.

The commission of inquiry, announced on Friday by presidential spokesman Hussein Mohamed, will examine whether administrative or intelligence lapses contributed to the deaths.

- Advertisement -

Kenyan authorities have said the dead were members of the Good News International Church led by Paul Mackenzie, who they said predicted the world would end on April 15 and instructed his followers to kill themselves to be the first to go to heaven.

The death toll stands at 111 but could rise further, in one of the worst cult-related disasters in recent history.

- Advertisement -

Mohamed said Ruto had also appointed a task force to review regulations governing religious organisations.

Mackenzie has not commented publicly on the accusations against him nor has he been required to enter a plea to any criminal charge. His lawyer George Kariuki told the press on Tuesday that his client could face “possible terrorism charges”.

- Advertisement -

Mackenzie appeared in court in the port city of Mombasa on Friday, where prosecutors asked a judge to hold him for an additional 90 days as their investigation continued.

The judge said he would deliver a ruling next Wednesday on the prosecution’s request and ordered that Mackenzie remain in custody until then.

Mackenzie, who was wearing a black and pink jacket and holding his two-year-old daughter during the hearing, told journalists at the court that he and some of his supporters were being refused food in prison. Prosecutors denied this and his lawyer had told the press on Tuesday that his client was eating.

“He eats and drinks,” Kariuki said. “He is healthy. I have met him personally. There have been rumours that he has refused to eat, and that is not true.”

In March, Mackenzie was arrested earlier this year on suspicion of the murder of two children by starvation and suffocation but was then released on bail.

Relatives of his adherents say that after he was freed, he returned to the forest where they lived and brought forward his predicted world’s end date – which had previously fallen in August – to April 15.

This has led to criticism by some Kenyan lawmakers that security services missed opportunities to prevent mass deaths.


- Never miss a story with notifications

- Gain full access to our premium content

- Browse free from up to 5 devices at once

Latest stories