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Death toll among Kenya hunger cult members hits 179 – Reports

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Nairobi: The death toll among the members of a Kenyan cult practicing starvation has reached 179, local media reported.

In April, media wrote about dozens of followers of a religious cult headed by preacher Paul Mackenzie starving themselves to death, as they believed they would go to heaven that way. The cult’s leader was arrested after the bodies of four people were found.

Coast Regional Commissioner Rhoda Onyancha said in a daily press conference that the number of victims among the followers of the hunger cult’s leader had risen to 179, adding that 25 people had been arrested in the course of the investigation.

The announcement was made after police recovered at least 29 bodies buried in 12 mass graves in the Shakahola forest in southeastern Kenya, Kenyan Citizen TV reported, citing a source in the local administration.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported earlier citing court documents that some previously discovered bodies of the cult’s victims lacked internal organs, which could imply organ harvesting schemes. The agency said that the remains of 112 people had been examined during the investigation.

Paul Mackenzie was arrested in April. In early May, Kenyan prosecutor’s office said that he would be charged with terrorism.

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