Shakahola Cult: 7 Rescued while starving themselves for heaven

April 18, 2023
Malindi residents gather around a police vehicle that was carrying some of the victims that were rescued from Shakahola.

Seven people were Sunday night rescued from a suspected religious cult led by controversial preacher Paul Mackenzie Nthenge of the Good News International Church.

Adu Ward Member of County Assembly (MCA) Samason Zia Kahindi led the rescue efforts in Shakahola village in Malindi, Kilifi County and drove the seven to the Malindi Police station.

This brings the total of those who have been rescued to 18, while four others reportedly starved to death on April 14. 11 others were hospitalised.

Paul Mackenzie Nthenge leaves the police station on Monday

In the cult-like religion, pastor Mackenzie reportedly encourages his congregants to fast to death in order to make it to heaven and see God.

RELATED – Malindi Pastor in Court After Congregant Starved Her Two Children to ‘Please God’

Last month, Mackenzie was released on Sh10,000 bail over his alleged involvement in the death of two children who were starved by their parents.

He was rearrested on Friday, April 14, with police seeking more time from the court to detain him to enable them complete investigations.

A homicide team from Nairobi alongside government pathologists has since been deployed to Malindi to collect more evidence and exhume the bodies of the two minors as ordered by a Malindi court two weeks ago.

The court on Monday allowed the police to hold Paul Nthenge Makenzi for 14 more days to allow investigators to complete investigations.

Sergeant Joseph Yator, in a miscellaneous application, had requested the court to allow the police to hold Pastor Makenzie for 30 days.

The preacher will be held in custody alongside six of his followers while the seven of the rescued members will be held for seven days as they undergo counselling.

Chief Magistrate Elizabeth Usui also canceled the Sh10,000 police bond granted to Makenzie last month.

She said a request by one of the victims to be released to go and continue with his prayers and fasting was evident enough that such activities were still going on in the area and that releasing the suspects could lead to witness interference.

The preacher’s followers are expected to face charges of attempted suicide.

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