Members die, others hospitalised, as pastor leads church into marathon fasting to meet Jesus



Four persons have died, while 11 others were rushed to hospital, with three said to to be in critical condition, from the effect of days of starving ordered by leader of a church in Kenya on the members, whose purpose was to meet with Jesus.

As a result, the said leader, identified as Makenzie Nthenge, of the Good News International Church, has now been arrested by the police, who said on Saturday, that the head of the sect, had told his followers that to starve themselves in order to “meet Jesus.”

Operatives, who were said to have stormed the Shakahola forest near the town of Malindi to rescue the adherents of the church, indicate that more victims could be discovered, with officials, quoted as saying: “The pastor is under arrest after he surrendered because he knew we were looking for him.”

Charles Kamau, Chief of Criminal investigations of Malindi sub-county, was quoted as saying that the pastor was taken into custody, ahead of a court appearance scheduled for Monday, adding that the police raid on the coast on Friday, came after receiving reports of “ignorant citizens starving to death under the pretext of meeting Jesus after being brainwashed by a suspect, Makenzie Nthenge, a pastor of Good News International Church.”

Hospital authorities were quoted as saying that the four dead have not yet been identified, while the 11 taken to the hospital were reportedly made up of seven men and four women aged between 17 and 49, adding that only two of them remained in the hospital on Saturday morning, hospital administrator.

It was also reported that some of the nine people who left had refused to take medicine or food offered to them, while investigators were expected to continue their search in the Shakahola forest on Saturday amid reports of a possible mass grave where other followers could be buried.

“It is further suspected that there are many victims in the forest land believed to belong to the suspect,” the police report said, quoting local media as reporting that Nthenge was arrested and charged last month after two children were starved to death in the custody of their parents, but was later released on bail of 100,000 Kenyan shillings ($700).

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