Saturday, April 20, 2024

Another cult? Police Surveillance Drone Captures Over 200 Religious Adherents from Kwale Forest

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Police in Kwale are investigating a suspected case of religious kidnapping in Vumbu village in Msambweni, Kwale County.

This is after more than 200 people were found in a forest allegedly involved in extreme religious activities at a church called Rainbow Faith Ministries -Vumbu, a splinter group from the main SDA church in Vumbu.

Among those arrested is the leader of the church, 23-year-old Joyce Mkumbi, a suspected self-proclaimed prophetess.

A close source to the Nation said among those arrested was a secondary school teacher who had quit his job to join the religious activities and was staying in a forest.

According to a verified report by Kwale County Children’s Coordinator Zephaniah Apoko, the church asked its followers to leave their homes and stay at the centre in the forest to observe and strictly adhere to its teachings.

They were also required to pray three times a day and three times a night without missing a beat. Children were forced to miss school to attend the prayers.

Among those living in the makeshift centre were 50 children from different families.

Mr Apoko said the pastor was not a certified preacher as she had no formal training.

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He has also recommended that Ms Mkumbi be charged for exposing children to extreme religious doctrine through her claims of messages from God.

But in his defence, Humprey Nyuma, one of the congregants, said they were only worshipping God and had not prevented any children from going to school.

“This is a good church. I also came from Nairobi and it is in a peaceful environment. I don’t know why the authorities are targeting us. But this is a sign of the end times as our preacher told us,” said Mr Nguma.

Meanwhile, Muslim For Human Rights Rapid Response Officer Francis Auma said police conducting investigations should ensure that they do not violate human rights even while investigations are ongoing.

Mr Auma, who visited the village, said residents had complained of harassment by police during the investigations over the past two weeks, forcing most of them to hide in the forest.

“We demand that the security operation and the investigation of the church members be done within the confines of the law,” he said.

The Kwale County Police Commander said they were still investigating the matter to come up with a conclusive report on the said church. This is as they continue to monitor the situation and prevent any harm to the congregants and children, some of whom escaped.

Maryvine Moraa
Maryvine Moraa
MBA, Business Administration & Accounting. A Passionate IT Enthusiast.

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