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Pastors in Kenya Under the Spotlight

One of Kenya’s highest-profile pastors would face charges over the “mass killing” of his followers, just days after the discovery of dozens of bodies in mass graves linked to another church. Ezekiel Odero, the head of the New Life Prayer Centre and Church, “has been arrested and is being processed to face criminal charges related to the mass killing of his followers,” the country’s interior minister, Kithure Kindiki, said in a statement. Odero’s arrest coincides with an investigation into Paul Mackenzie Nthenge, a cult leader accused of the deaths of more than 100 followers in a forest near the coastal town of Malindi. Police have not linked the two cases, and the authorities have not provided further details about the allegations against Odero or his church, which is headquartered in Malindi. President William Ruto likened the cult leader to a terrorist and vowed the harshest possible punishment for him and anyone else extolling “weird, unacceptable ideology” in the east African country. But past efforts to regulate the more than 4,000 churches registered in Kenya have failed, despite headline-grabbing incidents of cults and rogue pastors involved in serious crime.