The Kenya Red Cross Society has reported that 213 individuals associated with the controversial Malindi pastor, Paul Mackenzie, are missing. Shockingly, 112 of those individuals are below the age of 18. This comes after 73 bodies were exhumed from shallow graves in an 800-acre farm linked to the preacher, located in the Shakahola forest in Kilifi County. The situation is dire, with the Malindi hospital mortuary already overwhelmed with bodies, which currently total 90, including the 73 that were brought from Shakahola and those who died at the hospital.
To help preserve the bodies, the Kenya Red Cross Society has requested four-foot containers from headquarters, which will be installed at the morgue. Hassan Musa, the Kenya Red Cross Society coast regional coordinator, said that the containers were already on their way and would arrive in Malindi that evening for installation.
Musa also revealed that plans are underway to call for more volunteers to help in the rescue mission and the exhumation of bodies.
Families and relatives of the missing individuals are flocking to the rescue centre to try and trace their loved ones. The situation has caused widespread shock and sadness across the country, with the public in disbelief at the sheer scale of the tragedy. The fact that so many young people are involved has only made the situation even more heartbreaking.
The Kenyan authorities have launched a full-scale investigation into the Good News International Church and its leader, Paul Mackenzie Nthenge, who preached that death by starvation delivered followers to God. Police had previously named the suspect as Makenzie Nthenge. While some of his devotees have been found, it is believed that others could still be hiding in the bush around Shakahola, which was raided by police earlier this month after a tip-off from a local non-profit group.