A Kenyan pastor, Makenzie Nthenge, has been arrested over the death of four of his followers he reportedly asked to starve in order to “meet Jesus.”
The police raided the Shakahola forest near the town of Malindi on Friday, April 14, 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”.
During the raid, four of the members were found dead while eleven others were rushed to the hospital. Three of those in the hospital are said to be in critical conditions. The 11 taken to hospital were seven men and four women aged between 17 and 49, the report said.
“The pastor is under arrest after he surrendered because he knew we were looking for him,” said Charles Kamau, criminal investigations chief of Malindi sub-county.
Kamau said the pastor is in custody ahead of a court appearance scheduled for Monday, April 17
Investigators are expected to continue their search in the Shakahola forest on Saturday amid reports of a possible mass grave where other followers could have been buried.
“It is further suspected that there are many victims in the forest land believed to belong to the suspect,” the police report said.
Local media reports that Nthenge was arrested and charged last month after two children starved to death in the custody of their parents. He was later released on bail of 100,000 Kenyan shillings ($700).