ABUJA, Nigeria — Police in Nigeria have freed not less than 77 individuals who have been stored in a church basement by pastors who preached to them about Christian believers ascending to heaven with the second coming of Jesus Christ, authorities stated Sunday.
The folks rescued Friday night time from the church in Ondo state included 23 kids, some as younger as 8 years previous. Native residents informed The Related Press that some Complete Bible Believer Church members have been stored there since final yr.
Pastors on the church positioned 75 kilometers (46 miles) from Nigeria’s capital inspired the members “to remain behind” and look forward to the rapture, Ondo police spokesperson Funmilayo Odunlami stated.
Two pastors are in custody, though investigators haven’t discovered proof indicated the church members have been “abused and/or compelled” to remain within the basement, she stated.
“The assistant pastor stated he informed them what the Lord informed him; that they need to obey their dad and mom within the Lord,” Odunlami stated,
Nigeria is a deeply non secular nation the place many non secular leaders are revered. It isn’t the primary time authorities have reported rescuing folks held by clerics, whether or not voluntarily or by power.
A girl raised the alarm a few doable kidnapping involving the Ondo church, saying her daughter was not permitted to go register for her exams, locals stated.
Different residents had nuisance complaints in regards to the church however have been unaware of what was taking place inside.
“They maintain providers all around the clock and folks hardly ever sleep after they held their vigils,” Tunde Valentino, who lives close by, stated. “It was till Tuesday when a girl got here saying they didn’t launch her two kids.”
When native authorities went there, some church members resisted their would-be rescuers and “refused to go,” cursing dad and mom who additionally arrived, based on Valentino.
Famakinwa Lucaskakaki, the president of an area youth group, stated that in questioning, the church members insisted “they walked into the basement themselves” after service each Sunday.
“A few of them stated they’ve been there since August; some informed us they obtained there January this yr,” he stated.