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President Ruto warns about cult deaths akin to terrorism

Nairobi, Apr 24 (Prensa Latina) Kenyan President William Ruto on Monday promised action against terrorist cults that use religion after the deaths of 58 followers of a cult in the east of the country sparked a debate over security and legislative loopholes against such organizations.

Search operations were continuing on Monday in the Shakahola forest near the coastal town of Malindi, where dozens of bodies have been exhumed from mass graves in recent days.

A total of 58 people are “confirmed dead”, Kenya’s police chief Japhet Koome said on Monday. “This includes bodies exhumed and those who died on the way to the hospital,” he said.

The victims are followers of the Good News International Church led by Paul Mackenzie Nthenge, according to court documents seen by AFP, a “pastor” who advocates fasting to “meet Jesus”. The latter was initially presented by the police as Makenzie Nthenge.

“What we have seen in (…) Shakahola is akin to terrorists (sic),” said William Ruto, speaking at a graduation ceremony for prison officers in central Kenya.

Accused of leading his followers to death, he surrendered to the police and has been in custody since 14 April.

“Terrorists use religion to promote their heinous acts. People like Mr Mackenzie use religion to do exactly the same thing,” he continued.

He said he had “asked the responsible agencies to take up the issue and get to the root and the bottom of the activities of religions and people who want to use religion to advance a shady and unacceptable ideology”.

The president claimed to have called for the responsible agencies to deal with this matter and get to the root and the bottom of the activities of religions and people who want to use faith to promote a shady and unacceptable ideology.

“We call for national government to send troops on the ground so that we can go inside the forest to come to the aid of the victims who are still fasting to death,” said Hussein Khalid, a member of Haki Africa, the organization that denounced the authorities about the congregation’s actions.


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