Kindoki Witchcraft in South London

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The BBC Radio 4 Today programme produced a remarkable investigative report on Kindoki (Witchcraft) that may have led to the death of a man, Nzuzi Mayingi, found hanging from a tree in Crystal Palace Park in July 2005. The man was part of a 400 strong congregation of a Congolese Christian Cult led by Pastor Dieudonne Tukala who also lives in South London.

It was alleged that Tukala declared women and children to be possessed by the devil. This led to one man beating and branding his 9 year old with a steam iron and led Nzuzi to commit suicide. The BBC report showed how the children were terrorised into admitting they were possessed. If they refused it was said that Tukala encouraged the families to send the children back to the Congo where he could pray for them to die.

Nzuzi Mayingi and his pregnant wife and son arrived in the UK as asylum seekers in 2002. They began attending Pastor Dieudonne Tukala’s church in North London. Tukula diagnosed the wife, boy and unborn child to be Kindoki (possessed). Nzuzi believed this and, according to a church elder was encouraged by Tukala to beat his family and witnessed the child’s wounds. Nzuzi eventually threw his family out onto the street. Members of the congregation pursued the wife with abusive calls calling them witches “who will choke on your dead husband’s flesh”.

Within 18 months Nzumi was dead. The family have fled to the north of England. The BBC investigation detailed other allegations of Tukala taking money, jewellery and credit cards.

4 hours after the BBC broadcast Scotland Yard said officers from its Child Abuse Investigation Command had arrested a man, 40, in south London on suspicion of inciting child cruelty.

Last June three people in another Kindoki case were convicted at the Old Bailey on Friday on child cruelty charges, after an eight-year-old African girl accused of being a witch was tortured in East London. This is part of growing concern in London by the exploitation of vulnerable Congolese and Angolan refugees by Christian fundamentalist evangelical cults.

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