In Kenya, the investigation into the deaths of more than 100 members of a Christian sect has revealed a new element. During the autopsy, it turned out that organs had disappeared from several bodies.
The followers of the sect thus also seem to have fallen victim to a well-organized organ trade.
In the Shakahola forest, near the coastal town of Malindi in southeastern Kenya, the search continues for missing followers of the Christian sect Good News International Church.
Two weeks ago, the first bodies of cult followers were found in the forest. Their leader would have convinced them to starve themselves to get closer to Jesus. More than 112 bodies have already been found, many of them children. But people, including children, are still missing.
The autopsy of the 112 bodies found has now revealed that organs have disappeared from several corpses. Perhaps they were removed just before the bodies were dumped in mass graves. The researchers suspect the cult members may also have been victims of “a well-coordinated trade in human organs involving several perpetrators.”
The autopsy also confirms that most of the cult members died of starvation. Some – including children – were strangled, beaten or suffocated.
Cult leader Paul MacKenzie was arrested last month. Tomorrow a court in Mombasa will rule on an extension of his detention for 90 days. MacKenzie will be charged with terrorism.
The court has also asked to freeze the bank accounts of influential pastor Ezekiel Odero, who was arrested late last month and released on bail last week. Odero is said to have received large amounts of money, presumably from believers who Mackenzie had advised to sell their belongings.