The youths allegedly forced the church members to remove their robes, surrender bottles of holy water and asked them to sing liberation war songs.
Blessing Maramba, a soldier, Munyaradzi Saungweme, Tendai Musiyana, Lovemore Chinyanga, Martin Chihururu, Prince Kuwa, Themba Mvalo, Movern Ohiri, Sithembile Sigauke and Ruth Mvere appeared in court before Mutare magistrate, Langton Mukwengi facing charges of illegal detention and public violence.
They were remanded in custody to February 23.
Mukwengi denied them bail on the grounds that they had committed a serious offence and that chances were high that they would interfere with State witnesses.
The suspects, who are denying the charges, were represented by Nicholas Nhambura of Mugadza, Chinzamba and Associates Legal Practitioners.
Fletcher Karombe prosecuted.
Allegations were that on February 7 at around 5am the worshippers, Paul Timburwa, Gibson Findi, Prisca Pise, Jane Zimunda, Judith Maranga, Esnath William and Taurai Lina who were preparing to disperse after having their all-night prayer in Murahwa Hills were approached by the accused persons who accused them of conducting prayers on a prohibited sacred hill.
The complainants were taken to a place in the mountain which the persons termed as their ‘base’. They were ordered to remove their church robes and surrender their bottles of holy water. They were also forced to switch off their cellphones before being forced to sing liberation songs.
However, one of the complainants, Esnath William who pretended to have switched off her phone later sent a text message to her husband informing him about the ‘detention’.
Her husband immediately lodged a police report leading to the arrest of the gang.
They forced them to sniff ‘bute’ while threatening them. They told them that failure to do so would result in them paying a beast to appease the spirit mediums of the hills. Some of the congregants complied, but Timburwa and Findi resisted resulting in them being forced to dig a pit.
At around 12pm police officers climbed up the hill and rescued some of the congregants who were still under detention.
Source: Manica Post