Kenya cult: Children targeted to die first, pastor says

Children were targeted as the first to be starved to death in the final days of a Christian doomsday cult in Kenya, according to fresh accounts emerging.

Police investigating an apparent mass suicide have so far exhumed 201 bodies in a forest in the nation’s southeast.

A former deputy preacher of the cult told the New York Times that children were killed first, ordered “to fast in the sun so they would die faster.”

Women and men were next to follow the suicide plan, Titus Katana said.

Mr Katana – who is helping police with the investigation – also described to the Sunday Times the alleged brutal treatment of the children, saying they were shut in huts for five days without food or water.

“Then they wrapped them in blankets and buried them, even the ones still breathing,” he was quoted as saying.

It is alleged that the cult followers were told they would reach heaven faster if they starved to death.

Official autopsies of some of the bodies in the expansive Shakahola farm, near the coastal town of Malindi, found signs of starvation, suffocation and beatings.

More than 600 people who are reported to be members of the doomsday cult allegedly led by Pastor Paul Mackenzie are still missing.

Pastor Mackenzie, who is currently in police custody, said he closed down his Good News International Church four years ago after nearly two decades of operation.

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