• Ruto said people who are masquerading as religious people yet what they do is contrary to the teachings will face the law.
• He insisted that if any religious group preaches against the tenets of the constitution, those responsible should be prosecuted.
President William Ruto has broken his silence on the Shakahola massacre, saying that the perpetrators belong in jail.
Speaking on Monday, Ruto said people who are masquerading as religious people yet what they do is contrary to the teachings and to the beliefs or religion will face the law.
He said the controversial preacher at the centre of the Shakahola massacre is a criminal and belongs in jail.
"What we are seeing in Kilifi, Shakahola is a kin to terrorism. There is no difference between Mr Mackenzie who pretends and postures as a pastor when in fact he is a terrible criminal," he said
"Terrorist use religion to advance their heinous acts. People like Mackenzie are using religion to do the same thing... Let me say for the avoidance of doubt that people like Mackenzie and all other terrorists and criminals do not belong to any religion, they belong to jail and that is where they should be."
Ruto said that he has instructed the agencies to take up the matter and to get to the root cause of activities of religious or people who want to use religion to advance unacceptable ideology in the Republic of Kenya, that is causing unnecessary loss of lives.
He insisted that if any religious group preaches against the tenets of the constitution, those responsible should be prosecuted.
The president added that such institutions should be closed down because they are working against the collective interest of the people of Kenya.
Ruto's remarks come ahead of Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome's expected visit to the site to boost the ongoing probe and exhumation of the bodies.
The controversial preacher, Paul Mackenzie Nthenge, is in custody, pending a court appearance.
He was arrested on 15 April after discovering the bodies of four people suspected of having starved themselves to death.
Nthenge has denied wrongdoing but has been denied bail. He insists that he shut down his church in 2019.
The followers say he told them to starve themselves in order to "meet Jesus".
Malindi head of investigations Charles Kamau said on Sunday they exhumed 26 bodies increasing the number to 47.
He said the search was continuing not just for bodies but for survivors of the cult.
The 800-acre (325-hectare) area of forest at Shakahola has been sealed off for the search operation.
Police expect to find more bodies that are buried in shallow graves.