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Kenyan woman claims she was assaulted for dressing ‘indecently’ to church

By Tobias Chanji | August 30th 2016
Ms. Halleluya Amta who claims she was abused and assaulted on Sunday at St Joseph Catholic Church in Ukunda for 'indecent dressing.' (PHOTO: TOBIAS CHANJI/ STANDARD)

KENYA: A woman in Kwale has claimed that three ushers including a fellow woman assaulted and threw her out of a Catholic church on Sunday claiming she was indecently dressed.

She has reported the alleged assault to police and an investigation has been launched to determine what happened at Saint Joseph Ukunda Catholic Church on Sunday morning.

Halleluya Amta told The Standard that she was still in shock after being harassed and barred from entering the church where she had gone for mid-morning prayers.

She claimed the ushers refused to allow her in, claiming that her dressing was inappropriate. Amta claims she came to church dressed in a long dress covering a tight black pair of trousers with a hand bag and umbrella.

Amta further claimed that three worshippers, including a woman picked her from the congregation to supervise security and decided that she could not be allowed in.

"I came to this church on Sunday with this dress and while being frisked I was pushed, abused and beaten," she told the Standard.

Amta who reported the matter at Diani Police Station as OB 20/28/08/2016 also claimed to have lost Sh50,000 during the commotion.

"My dress is not bad at all and I don't know why I was abused. Imagine I was beaten by my fellow Christians and I know them, two men and one woman," she added.

According to Amta her tormentors also also used a metal detector to fondle her groin area in full glare of other worshippers during the 10.15am incident.

Amta claims to have suffered physical and emotional injuries.
Nimos Baraz,a an old newspaper vendor who is Catholic, said he accompanied Amta and witnessed the alleged humiliation.

"... I had accompanied her to the Catholic church. When we reached they confronted her and told her that she was not supposed to enter. I wondered because someone goes to church to worship," said Baraza who added that security in church should be left for police officers who are available.

"They almost wrestled her. I told her let us go back and we left because I was very annoyed. It's some old people at the church who make themselves security personnel and I don't think they are even Christians," lamented Baraza.

Kwale County director of Criminal Investigations Edwin Kamau promised to take action.
"We will summon the accused people and get to the bottom of the matter. In any case a church should be a respected place where people go to worship," said Kamau.

Efforts to get a comment from Father Joseph Maingi were fruitless as he did not pick our calls or reply to our text messages.

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