Kenya: Autopsies Begins On Bodies Of Cult Members Who Starved Themselves To Death
More than 100 bodies connected to a religious cult whose leader is believed to have told members to starve themselves to death in order to be the first to enter paradise are being examined by pathologists in Kenya, according to officials.
It is known that 109 members of the Good News International Church, headquartered in eastern Kenya’s Shakahola Forest, have perished. Since April 21, authorities have discovered 101 bodies in shallow graves, while eight cult members were discovered alive but later passed away. 44 people have been saved thus far.
According to Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki on Friday, the majority of the dead that have been found so far are children.
Chief Government Pathologist Johansen Oduor, who is in charge of the postmortem investigations, announced at a press conference on the first day of the autopsy that “we are going to be doing the autopsies in teams.”
Oduor claimed that the government was gathering DNA evidence from people who had reported missing relatives and that the process of DNA matching would take at least a month.
Kindiki stated that all possibilities, including if some individuals had missing organs, will be examined during the autopsies.
The number of fatalities makes this one of the deadliest cult-related catastrophes in recent memory, and additional deaths are anticipated given that more than 300 people have been reported missing, according to the Kenyan Red Cross.
Government officials are referring to the terrible discovery as the Shakahola Forest Massacre.
A member of Haki Africa, the rights organization that alerted the police to the church’s activities, Hussein Khalid, told the AFP news agency that he thought several church members were still evading the law in the adjacent forest.
“This signifies the magnitude of this issue that clearly shows that there are still many who are still out there … and possibly dying every second that passes by,” Khalid said.
In order to find believers before they starve to death, he urged the government to send soldiers to assist in the search. Since April 14, Paul Mackenzie, the cult’s leader, and 14 other cult members have been detained by police. According to local media, he is denying himself food and drink.