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Traditional Leaders Free Saints Assembly Pastors

Following days of protest at its Monrovia-based office, the Ministry of Internal Affairs has secured the release of some pastors who were allegedly held in the custody of some traditional leaders in Gbartala, Bong County.
The 11 pastors who were said to have traveled from Monrovia to Gbartala on a preaching commitment are believed to be members of a religious group named the Saint Assembly Ministry.
The 11 pastors according to report were released on Thursday, October 7, 2021 to a team dispatched by the Acting Minister of Internal Affairs, Momolu S. Johnson, following series of protest actions from members of Saint Assembly on the compound of the Ministry on report that their colleagues were allegedly forced into a traditional society in Bong County.
According to a press release from the Ministry, the high-powered team which has been very instrumental in releasing the 11 pastors and their wives was headed by Assistant Minister for Culture and Customs, Joseph B. Jangar and Chief Zanzan Karwor, Chairperson of the National Council of Chiefs.
It can be recalled that early Wednesday morning on October 6, employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs were greeted by huge quantity of members of the Saint Assembly Ministry occupying the entrance and compound of the Ministry calling for the immediate release of their pastors.
Furthermore, all efforts by authorities of the Ministry and other religious leaders to convince the group’s leaders for a meeting in order to ascertain the facts proved futile, as the protesters remained adamant and resolute in their quest for the immediate release of their colleagues before they could leave the premises of the Internal Affairs Ministry.
Assistant Minister Jangar who was said to still be in Gbartala noted that residents and traditional leaders vent their anger that during the preaching of the pastors castigated the culture and tradition of the community as being demonic, something which they said is a violation of the cultural norms of the community.
Assistant Minister Jangar pointed out that he and Chief Zanzan Karwor were informed by the traditional people that the men used the preaching to ridicule the culture and were only detained in a nearby town with plans of turning them over to local authority for violating the culture, and denied ever taking the men into the Poro Bush, terming it as total falsehood.
According to the release, the chiefs were quoted as saying that the detention was a safety measure as some angry community members were becoming increasingly impatient with the negative message of the pastors, adding, “The men in question were never taken to the bush, we met them detained in the town.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry is warning local and traditional leaders against taking the law into their own hands and rather seek legal remedy to such situation, while at the same time requested the team to conduct further investigation concerning the claims and counter-claims of the matter.
Additionally, the 11 pastors and their families have since been turned over to the District Commissioner and the office of Bong County Superintendent, Esther Walker pending their transportation back to Monrovia to reunite with their colleagues.

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