Security agencies say that a Coptic church in Kisumu has been illegally chaining mentally ill patients at its main headquarters.
Some of the patients who are mainly men were chained at the hands while others had their legs chained. The church clergy said the chained patients were violent and had been attacking people hence the decision to restrain them.
The Coptic Church leader Father John Pesa I however said that the families of these patients were fully aware they were chained saying that they were being held on their families’ volition.
“It was unfortunate for the police to raid my church on January 12 over such unsubstantiated claims,” said Father Pesa.
“In fact we are demanding an apology from them because they illegally forced access, wearing their boots into our sanctuary which is a holy place. They must be ready to cleanse the place.”
Kisumu police officers raided the church after catching wind of the situation but did not make any arrests.
Police said they were investigating the matter and denied claims that officers harassed the faithful during their raid.
“We received information that people were being held at his Church against their will and subjected to inhumane conditions, ” said Kisumu East Deputy County Commissioner Josephine Ouko.
She said that her officers were accompanied by officers from the Health department and physiatrists to examine the patients.
This is not the first time the church is facing such accusations. In 2010, the church was reported to be holding patients in the same manner but they were found not guilty by the courts.