A team of officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), National Intelligence Service (NIS) and community leaders on Monday, May 8, raided a church in Kwale following reports of cultic teachings by the preacher.
The team stormed into Rainbow Faith Ministries within the Kinondo Location in Msambweni Constituency after being tipped off by members of the public who were cautious of its religious activities.
Kwale County Commissioner Mwangi Meru led the operations on the highly-guarded compound after DCI and NIS gathered requisite intelligence.
"Security teams established that there were children residing in the center as well as other persons of various age categories and that the major concern was the practice which had led the members to abandon their homes, their jobs and their livelihoods to come and stay together so as to conduct prayers and spread their newfound gospel," read part of the report.
County Children's Coordinator, Zephaniah Apoko, claimed that the compound also hosted other persons of various age categories, whose only mandate was to undertake clandestine religious activities out of the public view.
Her major concern was that the faithful were indoctrinated to abandon their homes, jobs and livelihoods to live and conduct prayers together.
"Children were observed to leave school or interrupt classes so as to conduct prayers six times a day (3 times in the day and 3 times in the night) with strict adherence to this routine," read part of the report.
Apoko observed that the new spiritual convictions were introduced to the local church in 2022 when one of the members started receiving special messages directly from spiritual realms after she was miraculously healed from a chronic mental ailment.
"She managed to convince the whole congregation through the so called revelations from God and guided that they should abandon their livelihoods and congregate," County Children's Coordinator, Zephaniah Apoko stated.
After the raid, DCI established that twenty people had travelled from Taita Taveta in April 2023 to join the evangelism they suspected was radicalisation.
"Preliminary findings showed that both adults and children conducted all their services together, and they only pursued lessons in end-time prophesy," read part of the report.
The faithful only receive messages from one person identified as Mtumish, a self-acclaimed prophetess who determined all the terms and conditions at the compound.
"They stay together, cook together and sleep at the centre - all females of mixed ages sleep together in one mud house at one side of the centre, sharing beddings.
"At the same time, all males of mixed ages slept together in another mud house on the other side of the center sharing beddings as well," Apoko explained.
Government officials also observed that all other married couples used small mud houses and makeshift structures within the centre.
"The center holds children (children sleep within the center) even though they are not a lawfully constituted Charitable Children Institution (CCI) with a framework on how children should be cared for in institutions," the report stated.
After she was arrested, the self-proclaimed prophetess was accused of disregarding guidelines in the Charitable Children Institutions (CCI) regulations of 2005, National Standards for Best Practices in CCIs and Part VII of the Children Act No. 29 of 2022.
The centre was reportedly shut down, and all the children were reunited with their families. The raid came against the backdrop of investigations into the Shakahola Forest Massacre, in which over 110 people were illegally buried. Police arrested controversial pastor, Paul Mackenzie, accused of terrorism, mass killings and aiding individuals to kill themselves.
Pastor Ezekiel Odero of the New Life Prayer Centre in Mavueni, Kilifi, was also arrested as an accomplice but released on a Ksh1.5 million bail.
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