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Kenya: Cult leader Paul Mackenzie charged with terrorism

Preacher Paul Mackenzie, right, leader of the religious commune based in Malindi’s Shakahola forest, appears at Malindi Law Courts, Malindi town, Kenyan Coast Tuesday, May 2,   -  
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Paul Mackenzie and 94 others have been charged with terrorism following the deaths of 429 people. The defendants all denied the charges which were read out in a magistrates' court in ** Malindi **southeastern Kenya.

The Kenyan cult leader is alleged to have encouraged members of his Good News International Church to move to Shakahola forest and prepare for the end of the world. Hundreds would later die. 

Other charges relating to child torture and assault are due to be brought at a separate court hearing.

In April 2013, Mackenzie was detained after bodies were found in mass graves in a remote forest about two hours' drive from the coastal town of Malindi. Most showed signs of starvation, but some - children among them - may have been assaulted according to media reports.

The self-proclaimed pastor denies responsibility for the deaths saying his church had been closed since 2019. 

The request by the suspects’ defence lawyer for bail has been referred to another court.

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