Kenya starvation cult: ‘My wife and six children followed Pastor Mackenzie’

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Kenyan preacher Paul Nthenge Mackenzie has appeared in court following the discovery of scores of bodies in a remote forest. He is accused of encouraging followers to starve themselves to death – hundreds of relatives are now wondering what happened to their loved ones.

When the leader of the Good News International Church, Pastor Mackenzie, said the world would end in June 2023, Stephen Mwiti’s wife believed him.

Now, he is certain that she starved to death along with their six children.

The 45-year-old, who makes his living selling mandazi, or fried bread, holds up a crumpled photograph of his wife and four of his children asking if anyone has seen them.

He has been doing this over and over again in the town of Malindi, south-east Kenya, since she disappeared from there last August.

Mr Mwiti has also been to look for them in the Shakahola forest, where members of Pastor Mackenzie’s church had isolated themselves.

His wife, Bahati Joan, was pregnant when she left last year with their children: Hellen Karimi, nine years old, Samuel Kirimil, seven, Jacob Kimathi, three, Lillian Gatumbi, 18 months, and Angelina Gatumbi, seven months.

Mr Mwiti later found out that his wife had given birth to a son, who also died.

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