Sect Leaders Remanded In Prison

 

Leaders of sect in police custody

Leaders of sect in police custody

Six members of a sect discovered in Longla neighbourhood, Bamenda, on March 12, 2013, are being detained at the Bamenda Central Prison, awaiting trial.

 

Those awaiting trial include Richard Taah Tekuh, 47, Peter Nchumuluh, 73, Joseph Fon Tekuh, 47, James Ndam Mbaku, 70, Victor Nyam Fongang, and Etienne Fongang, 20. They have already appeared before an Examining Magistrate at the Mezam High Court in Bamenda for preliminary investigations.

They were brought to court on Tuesday, March 26, from the Bamenda Central Prison, having shaved the long beard and hair they were formerly identified with. Earlier on Monday, March 25, the sect members were presented to the State Counsel for Mezam by the police, following two weeks of thorough investigations carried out by the Northwest Judicial Police Division.

 

After perusing a voluminous case file against the defendants, the State Counsel for Mezam, Magistrate James George Ngwene, sent them to the Bamenda High Court from where they were remanded in prison pending the necessary formalities for commencement of their trial. They have as lawyers; Barristers Francis Sama, President of the Cameroon Bar Counsel and Eric Mbah.

 

A Tale Of Religious Manouvres And Manipulation

The sect started in Bamenda in the mid 90s, preaching the doctrines of William Marrion Branham, the late American evangelist. (Branham claimed that from his early childhood he had supernatural experiences including prophetic visions).The group members used to meet and worship at Ntarinkon in the residence of one David Achu. They deny it is not a church, but only a Christian family that read the Bible and pray. Their motto is “Revelation, Obedience and Immortality”.

 

It is reported that Pa Nchumuluh (the financier of the group) and Richard Taah (the evangelist) used to travel to Batibo and neighbouring villages where they preached the Gospel and shared tracts according to the doctrines of William Marrion Branham. This led to the conversion of many people within the Batibo area.

 

After worshipping with David Achu for some time, Taah, the self-proclaimed evangelist said he had a revelation from God telling him that Jesus was not the only son of Man. He said God has revealed to him that he was one of the true sons of Man. The rest of the group members started considering him the true “evangelist” and believed in most of his “visions”.

 

 

At one moment, he said he had another vision, calling for the consecration of the group. (In the Bible the word consecration means “the separation of oneself from things that are unclean, especially anything that would contaminate one’s relationship with a perfect God.” Consecration also carries the connotation of sanctification, holiness, or purity.)

 

Through Taah’s “revelation”, members of the group started living in their Longla neighbourhood residence bought by Peter Nchumuluh. It is alleged that he owns a large rubber plantation in Hevecam, Kribi, which yields FCFA millions per month. Money from this farm is used to run the sect.

Through the consecration doctrine, all the followers brought along their family members (wives and children) to the Longla residence of the group. They all lived apart according to the consecration and each planned to live a new life with their wives and children when that period would be over.

Nchumuluh brought along his wife, Regina, and three children namely Julius, Rebecca and Cecilia. Victor Nyam Fongang came along with his wife, Florence, and four children namely Hyacinth (deceased), Etienne, Markoson and Virginie. James Ndam Mbaku came along with his wife, Julie, and three children; Ruth, Blessing and Mercy, while Joseph Fon Tekuh came along with his niece, Atud.

While living there, Pa Nchumuluh got married to Virginie (Nyam Fongang’s daughter). The Post learnt that the group lived there peacefully, praying and worshiping. However, one day Taah brought up another “revelation”: That of Regeneration.

He preached that God had revealed to him that the group should be born again: That they should give birth to children with purity to swell the size of the group. But the most intriguing issue about all this idea of regeneration was that he (Taah) claimed that he had been chosen by God to father all the children. That is, he alone was chosen to sleep with all the women and mature girls there to produce the children.

“Evangelist” Transforms Mothers And Children Into His Wives

 

In application if his regeneration doctrine, “evangelist” Taah started sleeping with the teenage girls and their mothers (eight wives) that have resulted in the 30 children he claims are his. Through this doctrine of regeneration, Taah seized Pa Nchumuluh’s wife Virginie (Fongangs’ daughter) with whom he has made four children. He again started sleeping with Pa Nchumuluh’s two daughters with whom he has four children each.

 

In the same spirit, he again took James Ndam’s daughters Ruth, Blessing and Mercy, for his wives. He has four children with Ruth, four with Blessing and three with Mercy. He also has four children with Florence, Victor Fongang’s wife. He equally has three children with Atud, Fon Joseph’s niece. All the children are aged between a few months to nine years. They were all delivered in that fence where one of the women served as a midwife.

 

Before their discovery in the fenced compound on March 12, they had never been to hospital nor attended school. It is reported that “evangelist” Taah started making love to these female children of the sect when they were just at the tender ages of 10 and 12. At the moment, seven of the nine women are pregnant, four of them expected to give birth soon.

 

Ironically, Taah believes that the outside world is full of evil, reasons why the children should not have contact with the outside world. While police investigations were going on, the 32 children and their mothers (nine women) were taken to the Bamenda Regional Hospital where they spent some days undergoing medical examination.

They were later handed to the Northwest Regional Delegation for Social Affairs and taken to an orphanage at Up Station in Bamenda. The children and women are still there and reportedly doing fine. The Bamenda City Council contributes FCFA 50.000 each day for their feeding and basic needs. Other humanitarian organisations have been coming to their assistance.

How Sect Members Were Exposed

 

The strange sect was discovered after the death of Harrison Nde Ngong, 38, a member of the sect and a graduate of the University of Buea, on March 12, following an undisclosed illness. Taah told the police the deceased complained of sleepless nights and finally of bowel movements on the eve of his death.

It is reported that Taah took note of the evolution of Harrison’s illness but never deemed it necessary to take him to the hospital for medical attention nor inform his family. A few hours before his death, “evangelist” Taah noted in his diary that the health situation was really serious and Ngong eventually died during the night.

 

The family of the deceased learnt of his death and came to find out what had happened. This resulted in a clash with other members of the group. They never wanted to release the corpse to the family nor explain what caused Ngong’s death. The sect members even promised not to hand the corpse to the family for burial.

 

The neighbouring population learnt of the scuffle and invaded the place to know what was going on there. To the surprise of many, the compound was littered with children and women. All the children were sleeping at the same time. This raised eye brows and rumours spread throughout Bamenda of the discovery of stolen children at Longla.

 

People rushed in their thousands to the scene to see for themselves what was happening and whether missing children were among the children discovered in that fenced compound. The crowd threatened to set the long bearded sect members ablaze. They were saved thanks to the timely intervention of the police and the entire Northwest administration.

The six suspects named above were taken to the Central Police Station at Old Town where a large crowd gathered to have a glimpse of them. Photographers who successfully snapped the suspects, women and children made quick cash as people scrambled for the photos, some even sold at FCFA 1000. The deceased sect member whose corpse was deposited at the Bamenda Regional Hospital mortuary was buried on Saturday, March 23, in his village near Njinikom.

 

According to the sect members, three of theirs have died since the group started. Fongang Hycinth is reported to have drowned in River Mezam in 2007. His corpse was retrieved from the water and buried by the sect members in that compound. They also disclosed that a new born baby died there and was buried and the recent case of Ngong that led to their discovery.

 

Public attention is now turned to the Mezam High Court for the evolution of the matter and expectations are high for the outcome. Legal minds say the sect members may be charged for offences like violation  of children’s rights, corruption of youth, violation of the law creating religious groups, indecency to minor, illicit burial and forgery and usurpation of qualification of evangelist.

By Ngangsole Isaka

The Post

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