Prosecutors accuse Odero of links to cult leader Paul Nthenge Mackenzie, who is in custody facing terrorism charges over the deaths of more than 100 people, many of them children, in what has been dubbed the “Shakahola forest massacre”.
Mackenzie, the head of the Good News International Church, is alleged to have incited his followers to starve to death in order to “meet Jesus” in a case that has deeply shocked Kenyans.
Police had sought to detain Odero, who is popularly known as Pastor Ezekiel, for another 30 days to complete their investigations.
But magistrate Joe Omido ordered him released on bail of 1.5 million Kenyan shillings (about $11,000), saying he had to report to police once a week and not speak about the case.
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“By failing to provide adequate information on the status of the investigation as ordered by the court, I’m persuaded that the state did not act in good faith in seeking to continue detaining the respondent,” he said.
“The bail terms shall persist until the respondent is formally charged and or the investigation is concluded.”
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Odero’s supporters celebrated by singing, dancing and chanting: “It’s all prayers, it’s not witchcraft.”
Kenyan police arrested Odero last Thursday over the “mass killing of his followers” and closed his New Life Prayer Centre and Church that lies south of the coastal town of Malindi.
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