Home Christian News 4 Churchgoers Die After Starving Themselves To ‘Meet Jesus’; Pastor Arrested

4 Churchgoers Die After Starving Themselves To ‘Meet Jesus’; Pastor Arrested

Paul Makenzie Nthenge
Screengrabs via Africa News

Kenyan police are investigating the death of four churchgoers who starved after being instructed by their pastor to stop eating in order to “meet Jesus.” In addition to the four deaths, police discovered 11 other victims who were alive but emaciated. 

Police raided the Good News International Church in the Kilifi County of Kenya after receiving a local tip that pastor Paul Makenzie Nthenge was engaging in cult-like practices and encouraging his followers to fast to the point of starvation and death. 

Nthenge reportedly told the 15 victims that starving themselves would enable them to get to heaven faster. 

The concerned community members who alerted the police reportedly characterized the victims as “brainwashed.” Police said the victims had been “radicalized.” 

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Six from among the group of 11 survivors, which includes seven men and four women between the ages of 17 and 49, are reportedly in critical condition after being transported to the hospital. Most of the victims could not walk or talk when police found them.

Nthenge was arrested and charged on Friday, after initially having gone into hiding. 

Last month, he was charged in connection with the deaths of two toddlers who had starved. The children’s parents were attenders of Good News International Church. Nthenge had been released on bond after being charged with those two deaths.

Police are also investigating reports that Nthenge has a mass grave somewhere on his property in a large forested area. Police suspect that more victims may exist but said in a statement that their searches have proven unfruitful “by virtue of [the] vast land (area) and hostile residents in the forest.”

Unfortunately, Christian-adjacent cults are not entirely uncommon in Kenya, which is a deeply religious culture. 

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The police investigation is ongoing.