In a startling discovery in Vumbu village, Msambweni, Kwale County, authorities are investigating a possible case of religious entrapment involving over 200 individuals in a secluded forest compound. The group, identified as Rainbow Faith Ministries – Vumbu, is an offshoot of the primary SDA church in the area.
The 23-year-old leader of the sect, Joyce Mkumbi, alleged to be a self-proclaimed prophetess, was among those apprehended during the police operation. A former secondary school teacher who had abandoned his career to participate in the sect’s activities was also detained.
According to a verified account from Kwale County Children’s Coordinator Zephaniah Apoko, followers of the sect were instructed to leave their homes and reside at the forest compound to fully embrace the group’s teachings. Strict prayer regimens were enforced, with adherents mandated to pray three times during both day and night. Consequently, children were compelled to forgo their education in order to attend the prayer sessions.
The forest settlement was home to 50 children from various families. Apoko stated that Mkumbi lacked formal training and was not an accredited preacher. He has recommended that she face charges for subjecting children to extreme religious indoctrination based on her purported divine messages.
Despite the allegations, congregant Humprey Nyuma defended the group, stating that they were merely worshipping God and had not denied children access to education. “This is a good church. I also came from Nairobi and it is in a peaceful environment. I don’t know why the authorities are targeting us. But this is a sign of the end times as our preacher told us,” said Nyuma.
As the investigation unfolds, Muslim For Human Rights Rapid Response Officer Francis Auma urged law enforcement to ensure that human rights are not infringed upon during the inquiry. Auma stated that residents have reported police harassment over the past two weeks, causing many to seek refuge in the forest.
“We demand that the security operation and the investigation of the church members be done within the confines of the law,” Auma said.
The Kwale County Police Commander confirmed that an ongoing investigation is being conducted to determine the true nature of the sect. Authorities will continue to closely monitor the situation to prevent harm to any congregants or children, some of whom managed to escape.