Around two months after a "hunger sect" became known in Kenya's coastal region of Malindi, the death toll continues to rise. As the Kenyan Ministry of the Interior announced on Wednesday, 318 bodies have now been found. Only 95 people have been rescued alive so far, 613 people are still missing.
A local cult leader had been living in isolation with his followers in the Shakahola forest area and is said to have encouraged believers to starve themselves to death in order to be close to Jesus. The incident is now known as the "Shakahola Massacre". Two months ago, according to the first indications, the police found severely malnourished people in the forest area, which was then combed through for mass graves. According to the Interior Ministry, the exhumations are still ongoing.
In the deeply religious countries of East Africa there are repeated reports of sect leaders who make their followers dependent with promises of salvation. The sect "Movement for the Restoration of God's Ten Commandments" committed one of the most serious mass murders in Uganda 23 years ago. There, the cult leaders killed more than 700 people. The leaders of the sect found themselves in need of explanations after the end of the world had not been announced.