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150 Kids Rescued From A 'Cult-Like' Children's Home In Thika.

The Children’s Department in Kiambu County with the help of the Thika security team yesterday raided a home in Gatuanyaga Location of Thika East District and rescued about 150 children who were living in filthy conditions, suspected to be indoctrinated into some suspicious religious cult as well as being sexually abused by the administration.

It is understood the raid may be connected to successive reports from various quarters that pointed to abuse, sexual exploitation of volunteer staff and children by the director ‘Fr’. Bethrand Nwakwo Chukwa and poor living conditions in the facility. The latest of these allegations is that of the mysterious death of a STD 7 girl last week, which the institution was accused to have tried to conceal and planning to secretly bury her in their yard.

Armed with a court order from the Resident Magistrate of the Thika Children’s Court Hon. B. J. Barto that authorised the rescue mission, the children’s department team, with reinforcement from about 30 police and prison officers, raided the institution at around 1pm.

Caritas Mariana, situated in 'Kwa Heri' in Gatuanyaga, had been previously registered as a Children’s Home in 2014 but now runs a primary and secondary schools plus a dispensary which are all unregistered.

Fr. Chukwa is a foreigner with both Nigerian and Spanish citizenship but still holds a valid Kenyan ID card.

When confronted by the Kiambu County Children’s officer Mr. Mwambi Mugare to produce his passport, work permit and the registration certificates for the three institutions he was running, the director was unable to do so, proof enough that Fr. Chukwa was in the country illegally and running the home without the knowledge of the authorities.

Sources close to the authorities confided in us that the director had been using the facility solicit for foreign donations in the guise of assisting and providing shelter to orphans and vulnerable children. Instead, he started running a boarding primary and secondary school where parents paid school fees for their kids.

It is also alleged that he has been sexually harassing volunteer staff and the kids in the facility.

The kids in the facility live in very deplorable conditions that could lead to disease outbreak. A visit round the facility by our news team witnessed the very horrible situation these children lived in; blocked sewers, very limited and stuffy classrooms and dormitories which smelt like dead rotten stuff. We also witnessed some dangerously hanging ‘live’ electrical wires that posed great threat of any of the children getting electrocuted.

We were made to understand that the children and the teachers slept in the same rooms regardless of their gender.

Caritas Mariana is sprinter group that is said to have broken ranks with the Catholic Church. According to the area Catholic Parish, they have no relationship with the facility which runs under the umbrella of the Catholic Church.

Our sources within the facility told us of how the admins have been indoctrinating the children and the staff into what they referred to as ‘funny’ religious beliefs such as praying while facing the walls and reciting uncomprehendable prayers.

The ‘sisters’ (nuns) in the facility are said to be former students in the institution who double up as the director’s ‘wives’.

The authorities have previously been unsuccessful in their raids since the director always turned violent and used the children as his shield.

After yesterday’s successful raid, the children were taken to the children’s court where the magistrate ordered them to be taken to the Children’s Welfare Society of Kenya who will organise for their safe assimilation to reputable children’s homes and consequent admission to learning institutions.

The director will be charged with various counts that include being in the country without valid documents, running unauthorised institutions as well as possible charges of sexually harassing minors.

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