Malawi Police in Mchinji have arrested five top leaders of Seventh Day Apostolic Church for allegedly confining children without the consent from their parents in a camp which the church has mounted within Mchinji Hill.
The grouping, who dresses in white robes, believes in staying in isolation and wanders from place to places arrived in Mchinji a month ago and erected a camp site inside the hill forest.
Mchinji Police publicist, Inspector Kaitano Lubrino said: “Immediately a week after their arrival, two young girls (names withheld of the ages of 12 and 18 who were sent by their parents to fetch for firewood were approached by the church leaders to be prayed for and then join the religious grouping.”
Inspector Lubrino said from then, the girls did not return to their home instead they were initiated and became members of the church a situation that has forced them to drop out of school.
He said: “This development prompted their mother Juliet Kapalamula, 38, who hails from Katsache Village T/A Zulu in Mchinji to launch searching where in the course she heard that her children had joined the church.”
The police spokesperson explained that she approached the church leader to release her children but they refused saying their children had made a personal commitment to stay closer to God and leave every earthly thing and start anew.
“After meeting the resistance, Juliet reported the issue to Mchinji Police Station who in conjunction with the District Social Welfare and other stakeholders embarked on a joint discussions with the church leaders for immediate release of the victims,” said Lubrino.
According to police this did not convince the church leaders, a thing which prompted the police to round up the congregants and arrested five top leaders of the church on March 19, 2019.
Lubrino told Nyasa Times that the suspects have denied giving their full particulars claiming that they are only heavenly ambassadors.
Nyasa Times has established that the church has taken families from across the country and forced their children to drop out of school a thing which is an infringement of their right to education.
Lubrino said all the suspects are answering abduction related cases and will appear before court soon once investigations are over.
“The police are advising all church leaders in the country to observe regulations and policies in religious affairs that govern this nation so as to avoid infringing fundamental rights of its citizens,” said Lubrino.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :