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General News of Monday, 25 June 2007

Source: Daily Graphic

Man storms church service with machete

Pandemonium broke out in a packed church of the Fire Chapel International at Oforikrom, a suburb of Kumasi, last Friday afternoon when a man who had been sent there for healing broke free from a secured room and entered the main church hall with a sharp machete threaten¬ing to kill the pastors.

For about 20 minutes there was confusion all over as the church members and pastors ran for their dear lives, while the man, who later gave his name as Bismack Abanga from Nabdam in the Upper East Region, brandished his machete and dared any of the pas¬tors to come forward.

Abanga, before the incident, had his hands and legs bound up and placed in a room by the church members but some 15 minutes later he managed to untie the rope.

He then picked up a machete in the room, broke the door and headed towards the pulpit, cutting short the prayer session as everybody, including the pastors, ran for cover.

As the panic-stricken congregation and pastors fled in all directions, it took a machoman church member to gather courage to overpower the man, believed to be in his late 20s.

According to the Daily Graphic account of the incident, Abanga said he was an agent of the devil sent to kill not only the pastors of the church but also others in other parts of the country.

"It was a horrifying sight and it was by the act of God that nothing serious happened that day," Rev Abraham Cudjoe, the Founder and Leader of the church, told the Daily Graphic in an interview.

Showing the Graphic reporter the machete that the man wielded, Rev Cudjoe expressed surprise at the way Abanga managed to untie the rope.

He said they had wanted to call in the police but had a second thought because the whole issue was spiritual. They, therefore, prayed for the man.

Rev Cudjoe said a woman had brought Abanga to the church that day, claiming that he suffered from epilepsy.

He stated that since he behaved abnormally, he was tied with a rope and locked up in a room, awaiting the healing session. That was to ensure that he did not misbehave.

While prayers were going on, Abanga was seen entering the main church hall naked, having removed his clothes in the room, and holding a machete.

Frightened pastors and church members took to their heels, leaving behind a visually impaired man who sat on a chair near the pulpit.

Rev Cudjoe said Abanga went close to the visually-impaired man, pointed the machete at his head "and as I watched agonisingly I thought that was the end of the innocent man.

"But, thank God, after about five minutes, the man put the machete on the seat I sat on, before the machoman went to overpower him from behind," Rev Cudjoe said.

He insisted that the man was, indeed, an agent of Satan who had been sent there specifically to disgrace him and his church but the power of God reigned supreme.

He indicated that Abanga later came back to his senses after he and the congregation had prayed for him and he was later sent away by his relative.