Kenyan authorities exhumed another dozen bodies in the Sakahola forest, where followers of an evangelical sect had gathered to fast to death, bringing the death toll to more than 400 so far, a local official announced.

“The forensic team managed to locate 12 bodies” on Monday, Prefect Rhoda Oniada told reporters. The total number of dead is 403, but authorities believe the toll will rise even further. Searches continue in this forested, isolated area on the Kenyan coast, nearly three months after the first victims of the so-called “Sakahola Forest Massacre” were identified.

Police believe most of the bodies belong to members of the International Church of Joyful News, founded by self-proclaimed pastor Paul Dhenge Mackenzie. The former taxi driver, who has been held since April 14 and will stand trial for “terrorism”, urged believers to fast unto death “to meet Jesus” before the end of the world comes. Another 16 people are accused of being his accomplices because they had taken it upon themselves to ensure that the faithful did not break their fast and did not leave the forest.

Autopsies revealed that most of the victims died of starvation. Some, including young children, were strangled or beaten to death.

This tragedy shocked Kenya and the government was heavily criticized for not stopping the action of “Pastor” Mackenzie, even though he had been arrested several times for his extreme preaching. President William Ruto has set up a task force to look into the legal and regulatory framework governing the nearly 4,000 “churches” operating in the country.

The Interior Ministry announced that the Sakahola Forest will be turned into a “place of remembrance” for the victims.