The number of deaths linked to the deadly Shakahola religious cult in Malindi, Kilifi County, has risen to 58, the Inspector General of Police Japheth Koome has confirmed.

“This is out of bodies exhumed and those who died on the way to the hospital,” Koome said.

At the same time, the IG confirmed that so far authorities have managed to rescue 29 people from the forest starving themselves to death in religious heroism.

14 other people are in police custody following a probe into deaths linked to controversial pastor Paul Mackenzie of Good News International Church.

Meanwhile, the opposition has blamed the deaths on what they term a failure of intelligence systems in the country.

The Azimio la Umoja – One Kenya coalition party leadership in Parliament questioned how the heinous activities escaped the radar of security agencies including the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and called for a public inquiry into the crimes.

National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi called for stern consequences on those who slept on the job.

“This is a colossal failure of the state. It’s an unforgivable failure of security intelligence that in theory extends from Nairobi all the way to Shakahola and every other village in Kenya ending with the chiefs, assistant chiefs, village elders and Nyumba Kumi heads.

“This system failed and Kenyans deserve to know why. That so many people could walk away from their homes, stay away for so long starve and die without anyone noticing or reporting something a miss demands an agency public inquiry with consequences on those who slept on the job,” Wandayi stated.

He added: “This massacre requires that we evaluate our security n intelligence systems. We must re-evaluate our intelligence system and redefine what it considers to constitute national security and threat to it.”

“We must come up with ways to stop deranged and criminal characters from destroying humanity in the name of religion,” Wandayi said.

“We support the call for tighter regulation of religious entities including churches, mosques, temples, and synagogues.”

Pastor Mackenzie Nthenge is said to have influenced his followers to starve to death to “meet Jesus”.


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