Kenyan cult leaders may have harvested the organs of followers they convinced to starve to death to meet Jesus, police have said.
Police believe most of the bodies are followers of Paul Nthenge Mackenzie, a taxi driver who became a pastor and is now accused of ordering them to forgo food “to meet Jesus”, because the world was ending.
Examinations have now shown that while starvation appears to be the main cause of death, some victims were strangled, beaten or suffocated and others were missing organs.
“Post-mortem reports have established missing organs in some of the bodies of victims who have been exhumed,” Ch Insp Martin Munene said in an affidavit filed to a Nairobi court.
It is “believed that trade on human body organs has been well coordinated involving several players”, he said, giving no details about the suspected trafficking, AFP reported.
Ch Insp Munene said that Ezekiel Odero, a televangelist arrested last month in connection with the same case, had received “huge cash transactions”, allegedly from Mr Mackenzie’s followers who sold their property at his bidding.
Hundreds of people remain missing and the interior minister said police were combing at least 20 graves in Shakahola forest containing more than one body.
Kithure Kindiki said: “What we have here in Shakahola is one of the worst tragedies our country has ever known.”
He went on: “I am afraid that we have many more graves in this forest, and therefore it leads us to conclude that this was a highly organised crime.”
Mr McKenzie, founder of the Good News International Church, is in custody pending further investigations. He has not yet been required to enter a plea and is cooperating with police, his lawyer said.
Lawyers for Mr Odero last week said there was no evidence linking him to the Shakahola deaths and he has told the court he wants to “strongly disassociate” himself from Mr Mackenzie.
Source : Telegraph