General News of Tuesday, 9 April 2013
The headquarters of the Anti Human Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Police Service on Saturday raided the Maranatha Adventist Prayer Camp located at Mentukwa near Pokukrom in the Brong Ahafo Region and arrested seven leaders of the church for forcing girls below the age of 14 into marriages.
Eleven women and children between the ages of two months and 13 years were rescued in the process.
The prayer camp, led by Aaron Christ and Madam Mary Aku Ahiatse aka Deborah Christ were accused of human abuse.
Police said the raid was conducted upon a tipoff that the girls below the ages of 14 were shared among the men and were denied proper meal, education and healthcare.
Four babies were also rescued in the operation which was led by Superintendent Patience Quaye, director of Anti Human Trafficking Unit at the headquarters.
Police said the victims, who have been brainwashed that the world was coming to an end, dropped their parental names and had “Christ” attached to their names.
They were all believed to have been transported from Aflao, in the Volta Region to the camp after the head of the Maranatha Adventist Camp had the revelation four years ago.
According to a report from the unit, suspect Aaron Christ now in custody, a member of the Aflao branch of the Seventh Day Adventist Church got revelation four years ago that the world was coming to an end.
Aaron then told members of the church that God has directed him to isolate the “victims” from sinful men and send them to a place he has directed them to be if only they wanted to go to heaven.
With the help of the six others whose names are withheld, they relocated to the camp together with the girls and children to live in the forest at Mentukwa near Pokukrom where they formed their own church.
While there, the young girls were forcibly shared amongst the men to be their wives.
The women and children were fed with only maize, beans and cassava and were prevented from taking meat or eating anything made by man.
The police said the victims were not allowed to have access to education and medical care since, according to the leaders, it was sinful.
The victims, the police noted, have been in that condition for four years until the camp was raided upon a tip-off.
Some of the children were malnourished when they were rescued, the police noted.
The minister of Gender and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur,
who visited the unit after the swoop said the women and children rescued would be rehabilitated and provided with alternative livelihood.