Kenya cult death toll rises to 95 as government sets curfew

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NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The latest death toll in Kenya’s cult investigation has risen to 95 as the government announced a dusk-to-dawn curfew on the ranch owned by a pastor who is accused of ordering his followers to fast to death.

Journalists and human rights activists on Wednesday were barred from accessing the 800-acre (320-hectare) ranch, which has been declared a “disturbed area and an operation zone.”

Pastor Paul Makenzi, who was arrested for allegedly directing his followers to fast to death in order to meet Jesus, remains in police custody until at least May 2. He heads the Good News International Church.

Police say they took 22 people into custody during Wednesday’s search and rescue operation. Authorities have rescued 34 people from the property, which is near the town of Malindi, since police raided the ranch earlier this month.

The Kenya Red Cross Society said that 314 is the latest missing persons figure. Movement will now be restricted on the ranch for 30 days.

“Curfew orders have also been declared and Gazetted within the said area between 1800 hours in the evening up to and until 0600 hours in the morning for 30 days,” Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki said in a statement.

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