“Three people were stabbed to death while scores are nursing injuries after two splinter groups of Israel Nineveh Church faithful clashed at their headquarters at Chebrok in Vihiga County yesterday. The three died after they were beaten to death by their colleagues after they tried to disrupt the sermon.
The church service at Chebrok was disrupted as the two splinter groups engaged in a physical fight, stabbing each other with knives. It is said that one of the church leaders had strategically placed hired goons around the church compound to attack the rival group.
A group of the goons are said to have been hiding in his house, which was set on fire, while another was at the church ready for their mission.
However, their plans were thwarted as they were overpowered by church members who killed three of the alleged goons while scores were injured and rushed to nearby Banja Health Centre and others to Hamisi Hospital.
By the time police from Vihiga Police Station were called in to quell the ugly incident, the three faithful had already lost their lives. During the incident, a house and car belonging to one of the church leaders were set on fire just before the service.
The church, run by a family, has been for long embroiled in protracted leadership wrangles following the death of its founder Daudi Kivuri in the 1950s. Kivuri is said to have bequeathed leadership to one of his sons, Bishop John Mweresa, before his demise.
However, Kivuri’s widow, Rebecca Kivuri and another son Chadiva Amugune, and a section of church members, are said to have fallen out with Mweresa’s leadership style, touching off a long battle over control of the church’s affairs.
This comes barely a few days after Kisumu High Court judge Justice H K Chemitei delivered a ruling on the wrangles pitting two worrying groups. According to Mweresa, the splinter group led by Chadiva had forged a church constitution to remove him from his position in order to grab the church.
“It is good if the splinter group separates from us and do their activities at Mbale and I with my followers do ours at Nineveh,” said Mweresa. Chadiva said Mweresa had declared himself life archbishop of the church and does not entertain the idea of elections.
Meanwhile, there was drama in Zongwani village in Voi sub-county after police raided a church and arrested a senior pastor who had defiled a 16-year-old girl.
The suspect, a senior official of Jerusalem is Here Church, was whisked away by police officers from Voi Police station, disrupting the Sunday service and leaving his bewildered congregation in shock.
The pastor is said to have led a dozen girls to a choir practice session held at his house on Saturday evening. The session went long into the night and after it was over, the randy pastor had identified one girl, a Form Two student at a local school, to spend Saturday night at his house.
Speaking to KNA yesterday, the minor’s father said he had mobilised hundreds of villagers at night to help look for his missing daughter. He had even called the suspect to inquire about the girl’s whereabouts but the pastor feigned ignorance.
The search was called off at midnight but resumed in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Eunice Mwake, a worshiper, expressed her shock that the man who had been ministering to the faithful had been arrested for defilement.
She said the pastor had been the epitome of humility and virtue, always urging his congregation to shun evil. “This is outrageous. He has disgraced the church and everything that he preached to us,” said the shocked worshiper. Voi education boss Kennedy Machora said the arrest was a milestone in exposing fraudulent preachers notorious for breaking the law.
He added that some pastors in the region were taking advantage of their positions in churches to exploit children. Voi police boss Joshua Lutukai confirmed the arrest. He said the pastor will be arraigned in court after investigations. “We are investigating the matter and will take him to court once we are done,” he said.”