Investigators from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) have unearthed a chilling discovery of 27 unmarked graves in Shakahola forest, Malindi, amidst an ongoing probe into the enigmatic Good News International Church and its leader, Pastor Paul Mackenzie.
The detectives, who had been scouring the forest in search of the pastor’s followers, stumbled upon 12 additional fresh graves, bringing the grim total to 27. They also rescued three emaciated individuals, including a 16-year-old girl, believed to be Mackenzie’s followers.
The girl, along with two other survivors, was immediately transported to Malindi Sub County hospital for treatment. DCI detectives have been led to the recently discovered graves by tips from some of the previously rescued followers.
George Migosi, Coast Regional Director of Children Services, shed light on the disturbing trend emerging from the cult’s practices. According to Migosi, children were the most vulnerable, as they were the first to be subjected to prolonged fasting, followed by women and men. “I came here with the aim of rescuing children who have been forced to fast to safe areas. We have managed to get a 16-year-old girl who has been rushed to Malindi Sub County hospital to get first aid,” he said.
Authorities are yet to determine the precise number of casualties from the cult’s activities, as it is suspected that each grave may hold more than one body.
The enigmatic allure of Pastor Mackenzie’s ministry has drawn individuals from far and wide. One distraught man from Kilifi recounted how his wife abandoned their family to join the cult in Malindi. He described how she became captivated by the preacher’s televised sermons in 2019, ultimately claiming to have seen Christ and resolved to join the church. Tragically, while he was away from home in 2021, his wife left with three of their children, never to return.
As the investigation continues to unfold, the discovery of the 27 unmarked graves in Shakahola forest underscores the sinister and tragic nature of the Malindi cult.