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Eugene

(62,029 posts)
Thu Mar 14, 2024, 11:46 AM Mar 14

Zimbabwe police rescue 251 children used as labor and find graves in religious sect compound raid

Source: Associated Press

Zimbabwe police rescue 251 children used as labor and find graves in religious sect compound raid

BY FARAI MUTSAKA
Updated 3:16 AM EDT, March 14, 2024

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe police on Wednesday said they have arrested a man claiming to be a prophet of an apostolic sect at a shrine where believers stay in a compound and authorities found 16 unregistered graves, including those of infants, and more than 250 children used as cheap labor.

In a statement, police spokesman Paul Nyathi said Ishmael Chokurongerwa, 56, a “self-styled” prophet, led a sect with more than 1,000 members at a farm about 34 kilometers (21 miles) north-west of the capital, Harare, where the children were staying alongside other believers.

The children “were being used to perform various physical activities for the benefit of the sect’s leadership,” he said. Of the 251 children, 246 had no birth certificates.

“Police established that all children of school-going age did not attend formal education and were subjected to abuse as cheap labor, doing manual work in the name of being taught life skills,” said Nyathi.

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Read more: https://apnews.com/article/religious-sect-infants-graves-children-rescued-188941df5eeead95f5f5f174e0c1d3ba

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