Madzibaba Ishmael arrested as armed police officers pounce on his farm in early morning raid


Police officers, armed with guns, tear smoke and accompanied by sniffer dogs staged a spectacular raid on Madzibaba Ishmael Chokurongera’s farm in Nyabira in the early hours of yesterday leading to his arrest.

Scores of police officers raided the compound, which housed more than 1 000 people, and has been described as a cult where the majority of the people are being abused.

The residents of the compound were awakened at around 4am.

They led the police officers to Madzibaba Ishmael’s shrine where they were interviewed about concerns that have been raised about the captivity at the compound.

Those who live at the compound describe it as their Promised Land.

The police officers were accompanied by officials from the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Nyabira Rural District Council, Registrar General’s Office and the Department of Social Welfare.

The scores of children at the compound were put into different groups according to their ages.

Virtually all the children said they did not have birth certificates and did not go to school because they were not allowed to do so.

It quickly became clear that the children have been indoctrinated to live a life which is different from the one lived by millions of children around the country.

Health, Victim Friendly Unit and Social Welfare officials took their time to interview different women and children about allegations of abuse at the compound and all of them said they were not aware of such abuse and they have never been subjected to any form of abuse.

Most of Madzibaba Ishmael’s followers dismissed concerns that they were living in captivity and said they were there out of their own free will as followers of Madzibaba Ishmael.

Their leader is an ex-convict.

Madzibaba Ishmael assured police officers of their peace at the shrine and pleaded with them to put their guns down for the children’s sake.

“We do not attack people as reported by people who are fighting us,” said Madzibaba Ishmael, who has run into trouble in the past for attacking police officers.

“Our children, as well as our wives, are not comfortable seeing people holding guns.

“Musatye zvenyu nezvakaitika gore riya kuBudiriro.

“Our angels are the ones who fought some of your officers, it was not us.

“We preach peace here and we are a peaceful church.

“We want to slaughter a cow so that you eat while viewing our projects being carried out by our men for a living,” said Madzibaba Ishmael.

The team was led to a cemetery where shallow graves were dug around an anthill.

Madzibaba Ishmael said he was not aware of women’s and children’s rights.

He was taken to Nyabira Police Station and later to Norton Police Station where he was detained together with four other members of his church. HMetro.

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