Kenya doomsday cult death toll climbs to 201 - official

FILE PHOTO: Kenya police exhume remains of suspected followers of a Christian cult from shallow graves in Kilifi

SHAKAHOLA FOREST, Kenya (Reuters) - Searchers for survivors and victims of a doomsday cult in Kenya's Shakahola forest discovered 22 more bodies on Saturday, according to a regional governmental official.

The discoveries bring the death toll of one of the country's worst tragedies to 201.

"Our forensic team was able to exhume 22 bodies today but we have not reported any rescue," Rhodah Onyancha, a regional commissioner, told journalists in the Shakahola forest in the country's southwest where the search is continuing.

She said one more suspect had also been arrested, bringing the total number of those detained over the deaths to 26.

Throughout this week authorities have been digging up shallow graves scattered through the forest looking for remains and scouring the area for any survivors as hundreds of people are still reported missing.

On Friday, 29 bodies were unearthed, including those of 12 children which were found in one grave.

On Wednesday, a Kenyan court denied bail to Paul Mackenzie, leader of the Good News International Church, who has been accused of ordering his followers to starve their children and themselves to death so they could go to heaven before the end of the world.

(Reporting by Joseph Akwiri Writing by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Mark Potter)