In the town of Adjarra in northeast of the Benin capital, Porto Novo, five disciples of an anti-voodoo sect suffocated to death in prayer rooms filled with burning incense and charcoal.
Several others were hospitalized with respiratory complications after the incident. One of them disclosed to Reuters that they were told to stay in the prayer rooms so that they will not be held accountable when the world comes to an end.
“With the help of old cloths, we sealed off all of the exits to the prayer room before using incandescent charcoal and incense to prepare for the descent of the Holy Spirit,” said survivor Yves Aboua at the Porto Novo hospital over the weekend.
With the help of old cloths, we sealed off all of the exits to the prayer room before using incandescent charcoal and incense to prepare for the descent of the Holy Spirit.
The group whose French name translates as ‘Very Holy Church of Jesus Christ of Baname,’ is opposed to voodoo culture despite about 40% of the Benin population being adherents of the sect that believes in witchcraft and animistic deities.
Local mayor Michel Honga confirmed that the victims were members of prayer groups but declined further comment. Police officials declined comment and Reuters was unable to contact anyone representing the Baname church.
The young female leader of the sect, Vicentia Chanvoukini, alias ‘Lady Perfect’ has declared herself a god. The church is also named after the leader’s hometown of Baname which is located about 99 km from Porto Novo.