Two Tanzanian church leaders, who claimed they could use prayer and traditional herbs to heal sick people they were detaining, have been arrested. According to the BBC, William Masum and his wife, Kabula Lushika, were arrested after locals informed police that some people who had come to the church after leaving hospitals were dying.
The couple’s church is located in Nyamhinza village, where they allegedly detained over 100 people in dwellings described as traditional wards – that is mud-walled huts containing brick beds.
Some of the people who had gone to the church to seek treatment had been there for weeks, while they were also responsible for what they were going to eat until they were healthy. However, the Police eventually arranged for the sick people to be treated at hospitals. Authorities are also looking into possible deaths and if people have been buried around the area.
In an interview with journalists on Wednesday, Mwanza regional police commander, Wilbroad Mutafungwa, stated that though initial investigations do not indicate people have been buried at the site, they’ll still closely monitor the area.
Mutafungwa also said the accused church leaders did not have permits to hold religious services or use traditional healing methods to heal people, per BBC.
“We are now doing a detailed investigation, including interrogating the suspects. Meanwhile, I ask locals with classified information that will help the investigation to come forward and talk to the police,” he said.
The church had reportedly been operating for over five years.