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'Satanic' church banned in Zambia

Police are guarding UCKG buildings to impose the ban
Zambia's government has banned the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God after allegations that the church was involved in satanic rituals.
Police have been deployed to guard all its church buildings to prevent members from assembling.

Over the weekend, people in the capital went on the rampage after rumours that two people had been kidnapped by the sect. One church was burnt down.

Senior UCKG officials have refused to comment on the allegations and ban.

"The decision has been precipitated to allow for investigations into allegations, which we consider serious," Home Affairs Secretary Peter Mumba told reporters on Tuesday, AFP reports.

The government has decided to suspend the church operations in Zambia with immediate effect

Peter Mumba
Home affairs secretary

On Saturday, police fired teargas as demonstrators threw stones at a UCKG church building in the capital, Lusaka.

After order had been restored, two men - who the crowd claimed had been kidnapped for satanic rituals - came out of the building painted from head to toe.

They said that they were unable to remember what had happened to them or how they got there.

The following day, a gang of rioters burnt down a UCKG church building in Kanyama township, south of the capital.

The BBC Musonda Chibamba in Lusaka says it is not the first time the UCKG has been banned.

In 1998 it was shut down for what was termed "unchristian practices", but the church took the matter to the Supreme Court, which nullified the ban.
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