Police rescue religious sect members

After three-and-a-half years of living in servitude and isolation, 18 members of a church were on Saturday rescued by the police at a camp where they were held by its leaders.

According to the Police, while the elders of the camp were found to have married some minors, the members practiced incest, with the few infants among them highly malnourished.

The victims were rescued at the Maranatha Adventist Church camp located deep in a forest at Metukua near Pokukrom in the Brong-Ahafo Region, where they had settled after being brainwashed by the leader of the group, Mary Aku Ahiatsi that they could only go to heaven if they lived in isolation since the rest of society was evil.

Madam Ahiatsi and an elder, Innocent Anamu, alias Isaac Christ, who had impregnated a 13-year-old girl were arrested during the rescue operation by personnel from the Police Anti Human Trafficking Unit and are currently in custody, assisting in investigations.

Superintendent Patience Quaye, the Director of the Anti Human Trafficking Unit at CID Headquarters, told the Ghanaian Times that the police undertook the operation following intelligence report about the illegal activities at the camp.

She said the suspects would be charged for human trafficking and incest.

The group was said to have separated from the Seventh Day Adventist Church at Aflao about three and a half years ago when their leader reportedly had a revelation from God, asking them to leave Aflao and isolate themselves to worship God because the area was engulfed in sin.

She said those rescued have been sent to a shelter home whiles the camp had been destroyed.

Supt. Quaye said the group have built their mud houses and feed on their own cultivated crops such as corn, beans, cassava and plantain. The group were said to have settled at Bibiani in the Western Region a year ago but were rejected by the people and they later resettled at Metukua.