Bethel Church in Chipata Overspill in Lusaka has been burnt by an angry mob on suspicion that there was a Mermaid in the Church.
Police have since arrested eight people for Arson, Proposing Violence and Assault in connection with the incident which happened yesterday between 19:00 hours and 23 20 hours.
Zambia Police spokesperson Esther Katongo says it was reported that the Pastor at the church aged 52 who resides at the same church has a sick son aged 30 who has been sick for some time.
Mrs. Katongo said it is alleged that the mother in law of the Pastor’s son who is sick went with a witch doctor at the house of the Pastor who is the father of the patient and whilst there, the Witchdoctor alleged that there was a Mermaid (ilomba) in the Church and that for him to cure the patient, he needed to go inside the Church to perform some rituals.
“The Pastor refused to allow him and this infuriated the mother inlaw to the patient and the witch doctor who allegedly incited a mob that had gathered. The mob stormed and set the Church ablaze and also razed down the wall fence to the church”, She said.
Mrs. Katongo said the police rushed to the area and managed to contain the situation however one police officer was stoned and he sustained a cut on the left cheek.
Mrs. Katongo said the Church building had its doors and windows damaged while the plastic chairs and some benches were burnt, and some stolen.
She named those arrested as Beatrice Manda aged 47 of Chipata overspill who is the mother in law of the patient, Steve Mwanza aged 29 of Chazanga who a witch doctor involved, Jered Banda aged 25 of Chipata Compound, Michael Mwanza aged 35 of Chipata Overspill and Steve Kalusa aged 35 of Chazanga Compound.
Others are Felix Kasonde aged 27 of Chipata Compound, James Bwalya aged 20 of Chipata Compound and Caleb Ndalemeke aged 45 of Chipata overspill who are all detained in police custody.