Kilifi cult leader Paul Mackenzie stages hunger strike in police cell

Pastor Paul Mackenzie

Pastor Paul Mackenzie of the Good News International Church during an interview with the ‘Nation’ in Kilifi County on March 24, 2023. 

Photo credit: File | Wachira Mwangi | Nation Media Group

Leader of Kilifi-based cult pastor Paul Mackenzie is on hunger strike, police revealed on Saturday.

Mackenzie has not eaten since homicide detectives widened an inquiry and started marking gravesites and exhuming bodies of his presumed members believed to have starved themselves to death in Shakahola village.

Police say Mackenzie has refused to take even a glass of water on claims that he is fasting and praying.

On Friday, seven bodies, five children and two women were exhumed from four graves out of 32 sites identified by police.

Mackenzie, leader of the Good News International Church, turned himself in to police and was charged last month, after two children starved to death in the custody of their parents. 

He was later released on police bond.

Police reported his arrest last Saturday after discovering the bodies of four followers he reportedly told to starve themselves in order to "meet Jesus".

Eleven other followers of the church -- the youngest just 17 -- were taken to hospital, three of them in critical condition, after being rescued a week ago when the first bodies were discovered in a forest.