WINDHOEK, 20 AUG – The Namibian Police Force are investigating the operations of the Fountain of Living Waters Ministries church in Windhoek after allegations that some members are being held there against their will.
The church, located at the corner of Dr Kenneth Kaunda Street in Freedom Square, became the centre of attraction late on Sunday when a community member informed the police that there were questionable activities going on in the church.
There were allegations that some members were being “held captive and fed olive oil and sand as their staple meal”.
The police were denied access to the church and had to force their way in, breaking the padlocks on the gates and doors.
Briefing the media on the scene on Monday, NamPol’s Khomas Region community affairs officer, Inspector Christina Fonsech justified their actions despite not having a search or arrest warrant to that effect.
“We did it because the people are not allowed to talk to us. Even now they are not talking to us, but you can see their condition… they are not well. You can clearly see some of them need medical attention but they are here,” Fonsech said.
Fountain of Living Waters Ministries is owned by pastor Jacques Sumpi and his wife Sarah Sumpi.
Quizzed about the allegations mounted against his church, Sumpi said he felt the police were misinformed and had an agenda against his ministry.
“It’s like something they have prepared for for many years because every police officer who comes here is already telling a story, it seems as if they know what they are doing,” he said.
Sumpi, who is from the Democratic Republic of Congo, denied kidnapping or holding his members captive against their will.
“There is absolutely nothing happening here, we are just a church of the Lord,” he said.
He acknowledged that sometimes, his members do overnight at the church for prayers or during what he termed “a fasting period”.
This period lasts for a month and one week, running from July every year until the first week of August.
Windhoek Mayor Muesee Kazapua, who was also on site on Monday, said the church is preying on the vulnerable and desperate.
Kazapua made these remarks after he toured the premises of the church.
“I think as leaders we shouldn’t allow what is happening in this church,” he told Nampa, adding that it appears as if the 17 church members “have been brainwashed and are compromised”.
“Psychologically they have been exploited by this so-called pastor.”
Kazapua said the City of Windhoek will institute a commission of inquiry into the matter.
NamPol is expected to issue a full report upon the completion of their investigation.