Pathologists in Kenya have begun autopsies on more than 100 bodies linked to a religious cult whose leader allegedly had instructed them to starve themselves to death to be the first to go to heaven, officials say. One hundred and nine followers of the Good News International Church, based in the Shakahola Forest of eastern Kenya, are known to have died. Authorities have recovered 101 bodies from shallow graves since April 21 while eight cult members were found alive but died later. So far, 44 people have been rescued. The deaths amount to one of the worst cult-related tragedies in recent history, and the toll is expected to rise further with the Kenyan Red Cross saying more than 300 people have been reported missing. The shocking discovery is being referred to as the Shakahola Forest Massacre by government officials. Hussein Khalid, a member of Haki Africa, the rights group that tipped off the police to the actions of the church, told the AFP news agency that he believed some church members were still hiding from the authorities in the nearby forest.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA