Nairobi, Apr 24 (EFE).- Police in Kenya have recovered 58 bodies thought to be members of a suicide cult who starved themselves to death, as authorities continued to search for survivors.
The death toll, which has been climbing since exhumations began on Friday, could be higher given the Kenya Red Cross Society has received reports of over 100 people missing in the area near the coastal city of Malindi.
Investigators say the deceased are thought to be members of a sect who starved to death.
Cult leader and preacher Paul Mackenzie Nthenge, of the Good News International Church, has told authorities they will find more than 1,000 people who died to “meet Jesus”.
Kenyan president, William Ruto, on Monday condemned the deaths as an act of “terrorism”.
“What we are seeing in Kilifi, in Shakahola, is akin to terrorists,” Ruto said Monday from the town of Ruiru, near Nairobi, at a parade of the Kenya Prisons Service cadets.
The president said that Nthenge, who allegedly convinced dozens of his followers to starve to death, should be in jail for his “heinous crimes”.
“There is no difference between Mr. Mackenzie who pretends and postures as a pastor when in fact he is a terrible criminal,” he said.
Kenya’s Inspector General of Police, Japhet Koome, visited the site on Monday where investigators were searching for bodies and survivors in the Shakahola Forest.
Koome told reporters that 11 bodies were retrieved and 29 survivors were rescued on Monday.
Of the 58 deaths, 50 were found in graves and eight people were found alive but later died, he added, according to local media.
On April 14, Kenyan Police raided the site where Nthenge’s followers were fasting and rescued 15 people. Four of them died as they were being taken to a hospital in Malindi.
Nthenge was arrested in March after being accused of the deaths of two children in similar circumstances but was later released on bail.
The pastor is currently in police custody pending a court hearing. EFE