‘Miracle baby’ church raids

The self-styled archbishop at the centre of a “miracle baby” child trafficking scandal has had his churches and offices raided by police.

Officers from Scotland Yard’s child abuse unit swooped on Gilbert Deya‘s premises across Britain in a string of raids which resulted in a child being taken into care.

The operation was launched as the investigation into claims that babies were stolen from hospitals in Kenya and given to infertile women as “miracle children” took a dramatic new twist.

A London woman who had claimed to have given birth to a so-called “miracle baby” in Kenya was cleared of child theft after it was found she was duped and drugged by those behind the trafficking scam.

Sources close to the investigation believe 40-year-old Miriam Nyeko was conned into believing she had conceived miraculously while attending the Gilbert Deya Ministry in Peckham.

Mr Deya is at the centre of an international investigation into claims that the babies were stolen in Kenyan shanty towns and given to women who were then convinced they had conceived through prayer. Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s child abuse investigation command entered five properties earlier this month.

A Met spokesman said: “The purpose of the visits was to ensure the welfare of children situated at the addresses. No arrests were made.” It is believed the child now in care, whose identity is protected by law, was taken from the Scottish home of one of Mr Deya’s sons.

Mr Deya’s offices in south London were searched during the early morning raids, along with the Manchester home of one of his pastors. Today Mr Deya maintained he was innocent of child smuggling and said he had never put children in danger. But pressure on him mounted as Kenyan authorities revealed their belief that Mrs Nyeko had been drugged while undergoing a supposed labour in a Nairobi clinic in July. It is thought she was presented with a baby while in a semi-conscious state and told it was hers.

Mrs Nyeko, who lives with her husband in Canning Town, was arrested and charged with stealing baby Daniel Omilo at Huruma Estate, Nairobi. Mrs Nyeko wept as she left the Nairobi court, saying she simply wanted to fly back to London.

“It’s absurd that the baby was taken from me by police, yet I don’t even know where Huruma is.”

His birth was recorded in a home video being distributed by the Gilbert Deya Ministry to convince the world of its leader’s miraculous powers. But Kenyan police say the video raises more questions than it answers. They even suggest Mrs Nyeko’s umbilical cord is nothing more than a wire.

A source close to the investigation said: “It seems as if Miriam Nyeko travelled here fully believing that she was pregnant with a miracle baby. In the video she seems very disoriented, and could simply have been handed a baby and told it was hers.”

She was arrested by Kenyan police during the probe into claims of child theft. Detectives in Kenya still want to interview Mr Deya. He claims his miracles have helped British women conceive before they travel to slum clinics in Nairobi to give birth. Today he said: “The Kenyan authorities have no evidence against me. I have no connection with baby trafficking. If I was a child smuggler your MI5 would have found something against me, but they have not.”

Mr Deya’s wife Mary was appearing in court today, facing four counts of child theft after nine children were found at her house in the summer. Mr and Mrs Nyeko were unavailable to comment.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Evening Standard, UK
Dec. 22, 2004
Patrick Sawer in Lond and Rob Crilly in Nairobi, Evening Standard

Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday December 22, 2004.
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