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Students vanish ‘to meet Jesus’

’Mantoetse Maama

LERIBE — They left their hostels at midnight.

Their mission was “urgent”.

They said they were responding to a call to meet Jesus in the wilderness.

The end of the world, as foretold by Jesus, was nigh, they told their fellow students.

The nine boys and a girl — aged between 13 and 17 — have not been found since their disappearance on Monday.

The students are from Sacred Heart High School and Holy Family High School in Maputsoe, about 80 kilometres north of Maseru.

They also left a letter which was addressed to all their parents.

The letter said in part: “We are going on a mission to pray to God. He is the one who is going to lead us.

“The world has nothing for us. God is the one who will give us everlasting life.

“We will do everything in our power to leave this world.”

The Sunday Express has a copy of the one-page letter, written in Sesotho.

They also cited a raft of verses from the Bible such as Luke 9 verses 24 to 27.

The verses say: “For whoever wants to save his soul will lose it; but whoever loses his soul for my sake is the one that will save it.

“Really, what does a man benefit himself if he gains the whole world but loses his own self or suffers damages . . .

“But I tell you truthfully, there are some of those standing here that will not taste death at all until first they see the kingdom of God.”

The students are also alleged to have handed over all their food and clothes to their colleagues to donate to orphans and the needy.

They also destroyed their cellphones.

Police spokesperson Masupha Masupha confirmed the incident.

“There is a report that 12 children from three different schools in Maputsoe are missing,” Masupha said.

The principal of Sacred Heart High School, Makara Rampeta, also confirmed the incident.

Rampeta said they realised that the students were missing when they failed to turn up for an end-of-year exam that was due on Tuesday morning.

“It was around 9am when I was informed by the teachers that some boys had not come to school to sit for their end-of-year examinations,” Rampeta told the Sunday Express.

“The boys who were staying with them at the hostel told us that they left at around 12 midnight claiming that they were going to meet Jesus.”

Rampeta said he was later informed that the students had been attending prayer meetings in a nearby village after hours.

The meetings were being allegedly conducted at the home of a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Popopo village.

Rampeta said while he was still trying to come to terms with the news of the students’ disappearance, he received a call from Holy Family High School informing him that one of their students was also missing.

“I was told that my students could have an idea on the girl’s whereabouts,” Rampeta said.

He said he suspected an evil spirit was involved in the students’ disappearance.

A student who spoke to the Sunday Express said he received a call at around midnight on Monday asking him to “pick a letter from ‘nkhono’s toilet”.

“I did not understand what he was trying to say, especially when he asked me not to tell anyone,” said the student who refused to be identified.

“I had no idea that they had plans to leave.

“I am now scared to attend the prayer meetings because I have a feeling that whatever force that drove them to leave might also drive me away.”

He said all students were still in shock.

“During the Bible discussions they kept on emphasising that the world was coming to an end,” he said.

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