Kenyan police begin exhuming remains from suspected Christian sect’s graves

(CNN) Kenyan police have exhumed the bodies of 21 people believed to be followers of a Christian sect that believed they would go to heaven if they starved themselves to death.

Police near the coastal town of Malindi began exhuming the bodies on Friday and recovered seven bodies that day. Detective Charles Kamau told Reuters on Sunday that they had found 14 more bodies on Saturday.

“This terrible scourge upon our conscience should not only lead to the most severe punishment of the perpetrator(s) of the atrocities that befall so many innocent lives, but should lead to the tightening of regulation (including self-regulation) of every church, mosque, synagogue, or synagogue Interior Minister Keithor Kennedy said.

He added that the 800-acre forest where the graves were found has been sealed off and declared a crime scene.

Earlier this month, police rescued 15 members of the group – congregants of the Good News International Church – who said they had been told to starve themselves to death. Police said four of them died before they reached the hospital.

The church’s leader, Paul Mackenzie, was arrested after receiving a tip-off which indicated the existence of shallow graves belonging to at least 31 of Mackenzie’s followers.

Local media, citing police sources, reported that Mackenzie refused to eat or drink while in police custody.

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