Arrest of Madzibaba Ishmael unveils horror: 251 children rescued from cult’s clutches


Police have rescued 251 children at Lily Farm in Nyabira following the arrest of a self-styled prophet and leader of Johanne Masowe eChishanu apostolic sect, Ishmael Chokurongerwa, better known as Madzibaba Ishmairi and his seven other accomplices.

The eight were arrested for various criminal activities including abusing minors.

Chokurongerwa (56) was arrested together with church members, Shingirai Ngawafune (42), James Gwenzi (55), Zebediah Sigudu (49), Devlodge Katsande (45), Aaron Chokurongerwa (47), Wonder Kabaya (41) and Siribinio Chikurunhe (Madzibaba Gideon) (53).

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed and said investigations were still in progress.

“The arrest follows a raid made by the Police at the farm on 12th March 2024. Investigations conducted by the Police established that 246 out of 251 children below the age of 18 years found at the farm had no birth certificates and were being used to perform various physical activities for the benefit of the sect’s leadership.

“Police established that all children of school-going age did not attend formal education and were subjected to abuse as cheap labour, doing manual work in the name of being taught life skills. At the shrine, 16 graves were found of which nine graves are for adults and seven graves for infants. All burials were conducted without prior registration with the Registrar-General’s office in terms of the Birth and Death Registration Act, Chapter 5:02 or without obtaining burial orders in terms of the Burial and Cremation Act, Chapter 5:03. More details will be released in due course as investigations unfold,” he said.

Breaking News via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to our website and receive notifications of Breaking News by email.