Kenya doomsday cult leader, 30 followers to be charged with murdering 191 children

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NAIROBI, Kenya — Doomsday cult leader Paul Mackenzie and 30 of his followers were presented in a Kenyan court in the coastal town of Malindi on Wednesday to face charges of murdering 191 children.

Mackenzie and the other suspects did not enter pleas because High Court Judge Mugure Thande granted a request from prosecutors that they undergo mental assessments and return to court on Feb. 6.

The remains of 180 of the 191 dead children have not been identified, according to the prosecution’s charge sheet.

Mackenzie and some of his followers have been blamed for the deaths of 429 members of his Good News International Church, many of whom are believed to have starved themselves in the belief that by doing so they would meet Jesus Christ before the world ends.

The bodies were discovered in dozens of shallow graves on an 800-acre (320-hectare) ranch in a remote area known as Shakahola Forest in the coastal county of Kilifi. The graves were found after police rescued 15 emaciated church members who told investigators that Mackenzie had instructed them to fast to death before the world ends. Four of the 15 died after they were taken to a hospital.

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