(NewsSpace.com) – Throughout time, there have been many doomsday cults that have emerged, believing that there is some apocalyptic event that will wipe out humanity. The only way to be saved, leaders of these groups say, is to become a member and follow the directives. Last April, Kenyan authorities arrested Paul Mackenzie, a cult leader, and many of his followers when the bodies of 190 children were discovered in a mass grave site in the Shakahola Forest.
Mackenzie and his followers appeared in a Malindi court on Wednesday, January 17, to face murder charges, but they didn’t enter a plea. Rather, the court granted a prosecutor’s request that the suspects undergo mental assessments. They will then return to court on February 6.
The investigation began after police rescued 15 emaciated people who said they were ordered to fast to death. Four of them later died. Authorities then found a mass gravesite, where it was determined through autopsies that many died because of strangulation, suffocation, or starvation.
Facing pressure from a court magistrate, prosecutors announced that 95 people would be charged with 429 deaths, 191 of which were children. They face charges of manslaughter, murder, torture, and terrorism. The court warned that if no charges were brought, it would order the release of the suspects from custody, as they had been held long enough for authorities to complete their investigation.
According to reports, the prosecutors’ charge sheet shows that 180 of the minors have yet to be identified. Part of the problem in establishing identity came from the allegation that church members were ordered to destroy their important paperwork, such as birth certificates, national identity cards, marriage certificates, and other vital documents.
Mackenzie has been in jail for a separate offense where he was found guilty of producing preaching videos in a film studio he owned without a license.
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