Paul Mackenzie, a controversial pastor who has been linked to the deaths of hundreds of people in Shakahola, has denied allegations that he preached about starvation leading to salvation. In a statement given to the police regarding the Shakahola tragedy, Mackenzie denied preaching about the end of the world or calling on his followers to fast until death.
Moreover, Mackenzie refuted the existence of a physical church anywhere, including deep inside the Shakahola forest. He acknowledged that he purchased an 800-acre piece of land in Shakahola, which he then subdivided and sold to his followers. He claimed that some of his followers had not yet cleared their payments for the purchase of the land.
Mackenzie also stated that he could not account for the number of people who were in the forest because he did not call them there, and there was no sales agreement or title for those who bought the land. As of now, the death toll stands at 201, and 610 people are missing. The exhumation exercise is set to resume on Tuesday, May 16.