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Church in Naivasha closed over indoctrination of members

Government authorities in Naivasha have ordered the closure of a controversial church over allegations of the death of four children due to parents’ failure to take them to the hospital owing to their religious beliefs.

The church known as the “Church of God” in the Maella area of Naivasha came to the spotlight after three of its members were arrested following a public outcry after they refused to take their ailing children to the hospital alleging their sect beliefs.

This year alone, four children are alleged to have died as a result of neglect by their parents after they felt ill and later succumbed to their illnesses with three of them reported to have been buried at the church grounds.

Now, Naivasha Deputy Commissioner Mutua Kisilu has ordered the church to close its doors until police complete their investigations into the allegations of death and neglect of duty by parents.

Kisilu said the police have launched a manhunt of the church pastor who has since fled the area after the public called for his arrest following accusations of indoctrinating church members against seeking health services.

He added that police and members of the public have already rescued four ailing minors and taken them to a nearby hospital after they were taken ill due to pneumonia and malnutrition.

“We are pursuing the church leader who has fled the area after details emerged that some of the dead minors were buried in the church compound in unclear circumstances”, said the DCC.

The DCC said the arrested church members will be charged in court in Naivasha for neglecting their parental duties and for knowingly failing to take their ailing children to the hospital.

The church which opened its operations in 2016 with only four members has since grown to 26 members with calls to regulate the church activities to deter further indoctrination that has dettered members from seeking health services.

An area elder Gilbert Njuguna whose wife was converted to the church painfully narrated his suffering after one of his children died mysteriously and was hurriedly buried while he was away.

Njuguna who also serves as a Community Health Promoter said that members of the Church of God sect have been adamant and did not believe in seeking health services owing to their religious beliefs.

He regretted that he had fallen out with his wife after she joined the church after she started spending most of the time in church adding that it should be investigated and closed down.

Njuguna called on authorities to crack the whip investigate the church activities and curtail the ongoing indoctrination while ensuring that deserving children access much-needed health services including key immunisation.

A representative of the area MP Stephen Muthua cautioned that if the church activities are not investigated, more children are at risk of suffering.

“We want this church to be investigated to ensure that what happened in Shakahola in Kilifi where hundreds of believers died is not repeated”, said Muthua.

By Erastus Gichohi

 

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