Police in Nigeria have freed at least 77 people who were kept in a church basement by pastors who preached to them about Christian believers ascending to heaven with the second coming of Jesus Christ, authorities said Sunday, AP reported.

The people rescued from the church in Ondo state included 23 children, some as young as 8 years old. Local residents told AP that some Whole Bible Believer Church members were kept there since last year.

Pastors at the church located 75 kilometers from Nigeria’s capital encouraged the members “to stay behind” and wait for the rapture, Ondo police spokesperson Funmilayo Odunlami said.

Two pastors are in custody.