Kenyan pastor arrested over suspected deaths in his church
Nairobi, Apr 27 (EFE).- Kenyan pastor Ezekiel Odero has been arrested over suspected deaths at his church in southern Kenya, police confirmed on Thursday.
Deaths have allegedly taken place at the New Life Prayer Center and Church and reported in several morgues and institutions in the coastal town of Kilifi, regional police commissioner Rhodah Onyancha said.
“We have also taken action and closed the prayer center going forward,” Onyancha added.
Kenya’s interior minister Kithure Kindiki has also confirmed the detention of the famous evangelical pastor, saying he was being “processed to face criminal charges related to the mass killing of his followers.”
“The said Church has been shut down. The over 100 people who were holed up at the premises have been evacuated and will be required to record statements,” Kindiki wrote on Twitter.
Odero’s arrest coincides with the ongoing investigation into the around 100 people who starved themselves to death in the hope of meeting Jesus Christ, as per the instructions of cult leader and preacher Paul Mackenzie Nthenge of the Good News International Church in Kilifi.
The vast majority of those who died were discovered in graves in a land owned by Nthenge in the village of Shakahola.
Nthenge, who once worked as a taxi driver, is currently in police custody and is expected to appear in court on May 2, along with other 13 suspects.
He was also arrested in March after being accused of the deaths of two children in similar circumstances but was later released on bail.
The controversial pastor founded the Good News International Church in 2003 with the aim to “nurture the faithful holistically in all matters of Christian spirituality as we prepare for the second coming of Jesus Christ through teaching and evangelism,” the cult’s website said.
So far, authorities have not indicated whether the cases of Nthenge and Odero are related. EFE