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Doomsday Cult Leader Charged With Murdering 191 Kids

Reuters
Reuters

A former taxi driver-turned-cult-leader was charged by a Kenyan court on Tuesday with the murders of 191 children who were starved to death along with hundreds of others told to fast in preparation for the end of the world.

Paul MacKenzie Nthenge, the founder of the Good News International Church, was arrested last April and charged with terrorism-related crimes, manslaughter, and torture in connection with what has been dubbed the Shakahola Forest Massacre. More than 400 people swept up into the cult were found dead in a remote area of the Shakahola forest last year, with most of them having succumbed to starvation while prosecutors said others appeared to have been beaten or strangled.

Nthenge is accused of ordering his followers to starve themselves and their children in anticipation of the apocalypse, allegedly telling worshippers they had to starve in order to “meet Jesus.”

One woman who escaped from the deadly fast, Salema Masha, told the BBC she’d watched as children started to die around her in the forest, something those in the cult reportedly referred to as going to “sleep.”

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Survivors said Nthenge had instructed that the children should be the first to die. “When the child cries or asks for food or water, we were told to take a cane and beat them so that they could go and eat in heaven,” Salema was quoted as saying.

Prosecutors say Nthenge also hired enforcers, with some of them wielding machetes, to stop any members of the cult who tried to flee or break the deadly fast.

He was charged Tuesday along with 29 others with murdering 191 children, though all the defendants have denied the allegations.

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