Prophet Bushiri's church under siege in wake of deaths

2019-01-04 20:15
Prophet Shepherd Bushiri. (Image via Facebook)

Prophet Shepherd Bushiri. (Image via Facebook)

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Irate Pretoria residents have threatened to prevent services from going ahead at Prophet Shepherd Bushiri's controversial Enlightened Christian Gathering Church. 

On Friday the group had blockaded entry to the Pretoria showgrounds where the church is housed.

This comes after three women were killed in a stampede last Friday. 

Police believe that members of the congregation may have pushed each other as they panicked over a thunderstorm, leading to the stampede.

READ: Church stampede: Police takes aim at Prophet Bushiri's church after 3 deaths

Angry residents are demanding that Bushiri tell them what led to the incident.

Regional secretary of the South African Civic Organisation in Pretoria Portia Mokwena said Bushiri owes the nation answers and vowed that the church would not operate until he explains what happened.

Mokwena said a community member only learnt of her mother's death on Friday. 

"People died in that church and there is nothing happening against the church. A woman from our community was informed today (Friday) that her mother was among those who died in Bushiri's church.

"She was not aware where her mother was until she was told that she was dead. We want answers and this church will not operate until he gives us what we want. Bushiri is not in the country now, we are aware that he is coming on January 18 to take more money and leave," said Mokwena.

Police investigation 

She accused Bushiri of only taking money from his flock and failing to help church members deal with their problems, despite claiming he could heal people.

Mokwena said people sleep outside the church waiting for Bushiri to pray for them.

A community member who identified himself as Thabiso, said there were also questions around Bushiri's Christianity.

"We want to question him. Some among us want him to vacate Pretoria. We are going to continue protesting until his church is removed from our showgrounds. He must respond to our questions about the deaths and why the bodies of the deceased were removed without informing the police.

"We are aware that the church service was expected to begin today (Friday) and we are disrupting it. This is our message to him," he said.

Police spokesperson Captain Augustina Selepe told News24 earlier this week that a case of defeating the ends of justice had been opened against the church.

This is after preliminary investigations revealed that the bodies were removed from the scene before police were informed of the incident. They were taken to a private mortuary called Red Ford Mortuary. A case was also not registered with the police after the deaths.

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Read more on:    shepherd bushiri  |  pretoria
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