Paul Mackenzie, leader of the Good News International Church, was accused of ordering his followers to starve their children and themselves to death.
The death toll of a starvation cult in Kenya’s Shakahola forest has risen to 201 after another 22 bodies were recovered, a regional government official said.
“Our forensic team was able to exhume 22 bodies today, but we have not reported any rescue,” Rhodah Onyancha, a regional commissioner, told reporters on Saturday.
Throughout this week, authorities have been excavating shallow graves scattered throughout the forest for remains and searching the area for survivors as hundreds of people are still reported missing.
Paul Mackenzie, leader of the Good News International Church, was accused of ordering his followers to starve their children and themselves so they could go to heaven before the end of the world, which he said would be April 15.
The Kenyan court denied the taxi driver-turned-pastor bail on Wednesday.
Onyancha said another suspect had been arrested, bringing the total number of those arrested to 26.
On Friday, 29 bodies were exhumed, including those of 12 children who were found in one grave.
Kenyan President William Ruto has launched a commission of inquiry into the deaths of more than 100 people believed to have starved themselves to death, while a court ordered the cult’s leader to remain in prison.
The Commission of Inquiry will investigate whether administrative or intelligence losses contributed to the deaths.
Presidential spokesman Hussein Mohamed said Ruto had also appointed a task force to review rules for religious organizations.
Mackenzie has not publicly responded to the allegations against him, nor has he been asked to enter a plea to any criminal charges. His lawyer George Kariuki told the press on Tuesday that his client could face “possible charges of terrorism”.
Mackenzie appeared in court in the port city of Mombasa on Friday, where prosecutors asked a judge to detain him for an additional 90 days while their investigation continued.
The judge said he would rule on the prosecution’s request next Wednesday and ordered Mackenzie to remain in custody until then.
Mackenzie, who wore a black and pink jacket and held his two-year-old daughter during the hearing, told reporters in court that he and some of his supporters were denied food in prison.
Prosecutors denied this and his lawyer had told the press on Tuesday that his client was eating.