The Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church in Kilifi County has launched an aggressive evangelistic campaign aimed at stopping the arbitrary killing of elderly persons suspected of practising witchcraft in Ganze Constituency.

The church held a two-week door-to-door campaign in Ganze Township over the Christmas and New Year festive period to sensitize locals against the vice through the preaching of God’s Word.

Pastor Ben Maruko, who heads the SDA Church in the Coastal Region, said the campaign was aimed at enlightening and nourishing the community with the teachings of the Holy Bible to stop the vice.

“Lack of proper spiritual guidance may have contributed to the rising cases of the elderly killings and the rise in drug and substance abuse among the youth in this area,” he told journalists at the end of the two-week campaign on Sunday.

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He said the Church had noticed that most people, especially the youth, were not attending religious places of worship such as churches and mosques to be spiritually nourished, saying this could have led to the increase in cases of schoolgoing children taking to the use of khat (mogokaa) and alcohol.

Pastor Maruko urged residents to respect human life and dignity, saying lack of these virtues had led to the wanton killing of elderly persons suspected to be practicing necromancy.

“Some locals are non-believers who do not attend any church and there is need to bring them close to God through religion to solve the problem of killing older persons on witchcraft allegations,” he said.

He called on other religious organizations to aggressively fight against social ills in the area, which has also suffered some of the worst drought conditions in the country over the years that have been attributed to the ills of killing innocent people.

Police say at least 100 elderly persons in the constituency have been killed in cold blood over the past two years.

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Investigations have however revealed that the driving force of such killings is not witchcraft but family feuds arising from the lust to inherit land and property.

Ganze Member of Parliament Teddy Mwambire and some members of the community opened the Kaya Godhoma Rescue Centre in Mrima wa Ndege area two years ago where hundreds of elderly persons have found refuge after escaping from possible annihilation in the villages.

Evangelist Paul Mauko said during the campaign, some of the youth proposed the establishment of industries in the area to address the problem of unemployment among them.

Ms. Mercy Maroko, a faithful, said during their apostolic mission, most parents complained of indiscipline among children that had led to some of them absconding schools and churches.

KNA by Emmanuel Masha