Oct 19, 2021

Three people dead after Jamaica police raid cult compound on fear of 'ritualized killings'

KINGSTON, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Three people were left dead and three hospitalized after Jamaican police raided the compound of a small religious organization due to concerns the group was preparing to carry out "ritualized killing," Jamaican police said on Monday.

Police responded on Sunday to reports that a congregant had been injured at the Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Church in the town of Albion, outside the resort town of Montego Bay, said Antony Anderson of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

Upon arrival, police were shot at and separately attacked by a man wielding a knife, leading to an altercation in which one person died, Anderson said, adding that police later entered the compound by force.

"A member of this church ... had been injured apparently when she chose to disobey some instructions given to her by the leaders of the organization," Anderson said.

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"We were very concerned that some form of ritualized killing was going to take place here," said Anderson outside the compound, in comments broadcast by local media. "There are cultlike behaviors and a cultlike set-up that we have seen here."

It was not immediately evident how the other two people died. Consulted by Reuters, police said they could not provide further details.

Anderson said that 14 children were rescued, while 31 women and 11 men remained in custody. The group had summoned 144 followers to be present on Sunday night.

Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Church did not respond to a phone call and an email seeking comment. Police said the church's leader, Kevin Smith, was being questioned.

Reporting by Kate Chappell; Writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Sandra Maler


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