A witness in the horrific cult killings has revealed that controversial preacher Paul Mackenzie used social media to entice victims into the Shakahola forest, where they were murdered.

 A statement from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) notes that Mackenzie would then indoctrinate them with religious extremism and radicalization ideals, enticing them with the promise of land in the large region provided they stayed loyal.

PHOTO | COURTESY  Paul Mackenzie

“Mackenzie also promised his victims plenty of farmland within Shakahola forest on which they will farm and build homes,” ODPP stated

Appearing before Shanzu Court Senior Principal Magistrate Leah Juma, where Mackenzie and his 94 co-accused were pleading to accusations of terrorism for the killings of more than 400 of his followers, the witness under protection explained how the events unfolded.

According to the court, Mackenzie first created a social media account to mobilize individuals from all around, after which he assured them that property would be sold to them inexpensively so that they could build temporary dwellings.

PHOTO | COURTESY Shakahola bodies

“One by one, people of different walks of life streamed into the forest situated about 200 kilometres from the Shanzu court…Men and women, some married, arrived with their children after Mackenzie assured them of abundant land with the forest. Each arrival was gifted with some few acres of land sold to them at a throwaway price to put up their homesteads,” the ODPP stated.

The communities were given Biblical names such as Bethlehem, Judea, and Jericho, among others, and some people lost their property for disobeying Mackenzie's extreme ideas, such as journeying to Malindi town - also known as Babel - without his permission.