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Another Kenyan pastor arrested amid probe into cult-like deaths

Another Kenyan pastor arrested amid probe into cult-like deaths
Pastor Ezekiel Odero, center, holds a bible as he is led by police in Mombasa, Kenya, Thursday April 27, 2023.   -  
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Maarufu Mohamed/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.


A renowned televangelist has been apprehended by Kenyan police, and his church located in the coast has been shut down.

The authorities are currently conducting investigations into a religious sect that has been associated with the demise of almost a hundred individuals.

Pastor Ezekiel Odero, who is famed for drawing huge crowds at his functions, was arrested on Thursday hours after the police inspected a funeral home near his New Life International Church in Mavueni, Kilifi county.

Odero’s television channel is popular in Kenyan households, with people travelling from across the country to visit his church.

His YouTube channel boasts more than 400,000 subscribers.

His "crusades" [Editor's note: Religious event] have in the past been attended by senior politicians, including the wife of Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, Pastor Dorcas.

The police said they had established that morgue attendants had been collecting bodies at the church premises.

“This morning we have arrested Pastor Ezekiel Odero on allegations of the deaths that have been occurring at his premises,” Coast regional commissioner Rhoda Onyancha told reporters.

The preacher has not responded to the allegations.

Police are also investigating his alleged relationship to a cult-like controversial preacher Paul Mackenzie Nthenge, who is said to have told followers to starve themselves in order to "meet Jesus".

Kenyan authorities have already recovered 95 bodies of people suspected to have died of starvation and buried in shallow graves, at a 800-acre forest near his church in the coast. Many of the victims were children.

The preacher, who is already in custody, has denied wrongdoing.

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