Cops probe church chaining

PREMIUM

A criminal investigation has been launched into a Motherwell church after church members allegedly chained and shackled people as part of a supposed self-healing practice.
Church members claimed he had been put in chains because he was a drug addict with violent tendencies.
Police efforts to free Ntiyantiya were met with resistance when a handful of women pitched up with buckets of warm water, which they flung at “the devils and intruders”.
The church is in an open field between Motherwell’s Nzunga and Tyinira streets, not far from a Sasol garage.
The incident sparked a police case of assault on Friday.
Ntiyantiya explained how his father had turned him over to the church to be “cured” as he smoked drugs.
“Please tell them to release me,” he said at the time.
Police spokesperson Captain Andre Beetge said the assault case was opened following discussions with police management and the state’s legal affairs department.
“The assault case will be investigated and additional charges can follow depending on what is discovered,” he said.
Beetge said the investigation would seek to also assess how often people were chained, the reason behind it and if any other laws had been violated.
“They feel that they are doing nothing wrong by chaining people up and do not understand that it is a simple violation of human rights.
“According to the church, doing such things is allowed and is the norm.
“We, as the police, cannot allow human rights violations and potential criminal matters to go unchecked,” Beetge said.
The police could alert the Human Rights Commission as well as the department of health to the practices, depending on what they found.
“This will only happen once we have gathered evidence of what exactly is happening.
“It is vital people come forward to tell us about their incidents so that we can gather evidence and take action.”
Beetge mentioned a similar case in 2015, when a teenager was rescued from the same church.
In August that year, a girl of 13 was rescued after being held captive for two days.
The girl, who has not been identified as she is a minor, was allegedly taken to the church by her mother who believed she was possessed by demons.
Residents tipped off the police who rescued her and took her to a place of safety.
Beetge said victims were urged to call him on 082-302-5882...

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