Scores of Johanne Masowe weChishanu sect members who beat up anti-riot police officers, journalists and members of the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) in Budiriro 2 on Friday are on the run, it has been established.
BY OUR STAFF
The brutal attack by the marauding Johanne Masowe weChishanu members, followers of a sect led by one Madzibaba Ishmael Mufani, left nine police officers, two ZBC staffers and ACCZ official Lameck Chitope seriously injured.
They were attacked with rocks and shepherd’s staffs, the Mapostori’s traditional prayer aid.
The attack followed an announcement by the ACCZ president, Bishop Johannes Ndanga that the sect had been banned for among other reasons, denying their children education, allowing fathers to administer virginity tests on their daughters using fingers and wife battering.
Sources said yesterday that following the attack, police swooped on Budiriro on Friday night to arrest the perpetrators, but found out that most of them had deserted their homes.
An official close to the investigation said six members of the sect had been arrested by yesterday, but up to 50 more suspects were being sought after they were identified through photo evidence and witnesses.
“Most of the suspects have disappeared into thin air and their families are professing ignorance over their whereabouts,” said the official who is not authorised to speak to the media.
National Police spokesperson, senior assistant commissioner Charity Charamba was not answering her phone last night.
But she was quoted by ZBC confirming that more police officers had been deployed to investigate the issue.
“We have deployed more personnel to investigate the matter and to bring perpetrators of violence to book. So far we are still questioning the six members who were arrested on Friday,” Charamba is quoted as saying.
ACCZ chief registrar, Rev Taurai Mbewe said sect members who were on the run after beating up police officers should surrender and allow the law to take its full course.
He said Madzibaba Ishmael’s sect was more of a cult which indoctrinated its members who were not allowed to read newspapers and the Bible, watch television or possess cellphones.
“It’s most likely that they are not even aware that they are making headlines in the media after attacking police officers and journalists,” said Rev Mbewe.
He said all the people who were hospitalised after the thorough beating, had now been discharged save for ZBC cameraperson, Relax Mafurutu who is still detained at West End hospital.
Mbewe said ACCZ would this week start engaging stakeholders such as Childline, Unicef and the ministry of Primary and Secondary Education with the view to help children who were being abused by the sect members.