HomeCrime & InvestigationsThe Shakahola Massacre: The Dark Side of Blind Faith

The Shakahola Massacre: The Dark Side of Blind Faith

  • EDITOR’S BRIEF: The Shakahola Massacre is a tragic reminder of the dangers of blind faith and the need for responsible religious leadership. The government must act swiftly to ensure that citizens are protected from religious abuse and that religious institutions are held accountable for their actions.

The ongoing investigation into the Shakahola Massacre in Kilifi County has taken a gruesome turn as detectives exhumed 18 more bodies on Sunday. The discovery brings the total number of bodies recovered in the past three days to 39.

Detectives have been probing a religious cult led by Pastor Makenzie Nthenge, who allegedly instructed his followers to fast in order to “meet Jesus.” Nthenge, the leader of the Good News International Church, was charged last month after two children died of starvation while under their parents’ care.

Despite being granted bail of 10,000 shillings, Nthenge was rearrested on April 15 after the bodies of four church members were found buried in shallow graves. It is believed that Nthenge convinced his followers to fast for an extended period, leading to their deaths.

Eleven other followers of the church, aged between 17 and 49, were rescued on April 14 and taken to the hospital. Seven men and four women were among those rescued, and three of them were in critical condition.

The disturbing details of the Shakahola Massacre have raised concerns about the need for stricter regulations on religious centers. Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki has called for tighter regulations and self-regulation of every church, mosque, temple, or synagogue going forward. While the State remains respectful of religious freedom, this horrendous blight on the nation’s conscience must lead to severe punishment of the perpetrators and more stringent regulation of religious institutions.

As the investigation continues, the Interior CS has ordered the reinforcement of police troops in the Shakahola area to assist with the ongoing investigation. The main suspect, Nthenge, remains in custody as detectives work to exhume all the bodies in the case.

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