The Media Project is a network of mainstream journalists who are Christians pursuing accurate and intellectually honest reporting on all aspects of culture, particularly the role of religion in public life in all corners of the world. It welcomes friends from other faiths to such discussions and training.

Serial killer's occult rites shock Kenya

Serial killer's occult rites shock Kenya

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NAIROBI, KENYA - A 30-year old father of two has shocked Kenya after admitting that he has been enticing and killing children and women and sucking their blood in a cult-related activity. In a grim confession, Philip Ondara Onyancha said that, by the time of his arrest in June 2010 by the Kenyan police, he had killed 19 people, strangling them and then drinking their blood. Onyancha said he did this in hope of attaining a higher and more powerful rank in the cult he joined a dozen years earlier.

Kenya’s first ever self-confessed serial killer told the Special Crime Prevention Police Unit that he had intended to kill 100 people in order to be rewarded with a “very high rank” in the cult.

So far, Onyancha has not given police the name of the cult, nor has he provided any details of the alleged cult’s other members. Police continue the investigation on the suspicion that Onyancha might not have acted alone.

Onyancha said he was introduced to the occult movement by his former secondary school female teacher between 1995 and 1998 in Nyeri, about 260 kilometers northeast of Nairobi. His teacher, Ms. Elizabeth Wambui Kimani, taught Kiswahili and, ironically, Christian Religious Education. Ms. Kimani introduced Onyancha to the cult his very first year of high school.

The cult’s initiation ceremony involved cutting his chest and smearing some “strange” ashes on the cuts, Onyahncha told journalists. This supposedly gave him “great powers” that enabled him to lure his victims to secluded areas, where he then killed them and disposed of their blood as demanded by the evil spirits.

Onyancha told journalists that, after being lacerated with the ashes, he became “powerful” and effective in 2007 when he killed his first victim. His first victim was a woman he lured away from the residence of the German diplomat Onyancha was guarding in his job with the G4S Security Company in Muthangari in Nairobi.

The soft spoken, innocent-looking Onyancha said his choice of women and children as his victims was mainly driven by the fact that women are “the weaker sex” and children make easy targets.

Onyancha insisted he never had sex with his victims. He said his plan was only to kill and consume the blood of 100 victims, in order to reach the “mark of deaths” that would make him rich and powerful.

Psychologists say that most serial killings do have a sexual component, however, and so they suspect the same of Onyancha. Investigators also theorize that Onyancha’s mental state might have become unstable due to anger over personal failures prior to 2007, which could have led him to seek revenge on innocent parties.

Onyancha said he became a staunch member of the cult, but all the while the “spirits” kept pushing him to meet their demand of killing 100 people and earn that power and wealth. Yet after killing 19 people, he felt no positive change nor had his life or status improved in anyway.

After seeing no change in his life, Onyancha says he joined a kidnapping syndicate, which abducted people for ransom. He says the kidnapping gang he joined did not know of his occult activities at first. The crime syndicate’s only aim was the money they gathered through ransom payments.

Onyancha chillingly recounted to journalists how on several occasions - though he had already murdered the victims, including children - he and his accomplices would still extort money from desperate relatives.

The self-confessed serial killer claimed the cult is so "very powerful” that all he needed to do was to greet his victims with a handshake, and they willingly followed him to wherever he led them.

The cult's influence over Onyancha is a grave concern for local religious groups.

Some Christian leaders say the growing occult-related movements are successfully enticing young people with promises of riches and power due to Kenya's high poverty levels.

Cults target young people because they are young and have an exploring mind, according to scholar and Pastor Elias Gitonga of Nairobi’s Pentecostal Deliverance Church Embakasi.

Kenyans are now anxiously awaiting the final verdict on the country's first ever self-confessed serial killer. The final outcome will depend on the numerous cases being argued in courts across the many different locations Onyancha committed the crimes.

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