'Satanic' pastors deported

South African Press Association/February 13, 2006

Lusaka - Two Brazilian pastors of an evangelical church accused of Satanism were deported from Zambia, an official said on Monday.

Carlos Barcelos and Jamir Craveiro of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) were sent back to Brazil on Saturday night after the home affairs ministry said they posed a security threat.

The UCKG was banned last year in Zambia for allegedly practising Satanism, but they were later allowed to operate after the government conceded before the high court that procedure was not followed when banning the denomination.

"I can confirm that the two pastors of Brazilian origin were deported on grounds of national security on Saturday night," said home affairs permanent secretary Peter Mumba.

There have been allegations that church followers practice human sacrifice, but there has been no proof of any wrongdoing.

Thousands of people went on rampage in late November in Zambia's capital, Lusaka, smashing windows of the church and stoning vehicles after they were told that two people had been kidnapped and were about to be sacrificed.

Lawyers representing the Church accused the government of acting in bad faith after it had signalled its readiness to reach a friendly settlement on the church's status.

"We will take up the case before the high court again," said lawyer Lisimba Mutakela.

The two pastors were ordered to leave the country last year when the Church was banned, but they obtained a court order allowing them to stay in Zambia.

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