42 members of 'cult' held by police after suspected ritual killingsMonday, October 18, 2021
ST JAMES, Jamaica- Some 42 members of the St James' Pathway International Kingdom Restoration Ministries are currently in police custody following Sunday's standoff with members of the security force, says Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson.
Anderson, speaking to reporters on Monday afternoon, shared that 31 women and 11 men have been detained for questioning.
Commissioner Anderson also noted that a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is also in custody, and there are suspicions that other police personnel are involved.
"There was a police woman here and we are processing that as well. We are aware of a couple other [officers] who may be members of the congregation based on what we are seeing inside and of course, more information is coming in," he said.
He said that members of the police force were alerted to the premises where a three-day convention was being held, after receiving a report from an injured congregant who was rushed to the hospital.
"A congregant here, apparently when she chose to disobey some instructions given to her by the leaders of this organisation, reported to the police that she was injured and other information that led us to believe that the [others] here were at risk," said the police commissioner.
"We were very concerned that some form of ritualised killing was going to take place here and so we did an entry last night," he added.
The police commissioner said that based on reports to the police, some 144 congregants received messages to meet at the religious location for the convention. This, he said, was a cause for grave concern.
"We are aware that 144 congregants had been told to meet here and on responding to the report from the [individual] who was injured, the first team of police that arrived was shot at and so, they waited for reinforcements to come," Commissioner Anderson detailed.
"We found that there were a couple of people who were injured by other members of the church….so we see this as a rescue of these children based on what we saw when we came in here. There were cult-like behaviours and set-ups here," the police commissioner said.
One member of the group was shot dead after reportedly attacking the police, while two others are believed to have been killed as part of a ritual.