Contrary to the Government’s directives against public gatherings, over 200 believers from various religious denominations were caught praying at a popular prayer hill called Kanyarira, Mpanda cell, Byimana sector, in Ruhango District.

This happened on, Saturday, last week.

According to Rwanda National Police in the southern region, the violators, who were from different parts of the country, were caught after the residents of Kanyarira village alerted police about the incident.

Superintendent of Police (SP) Theobald Kanamugire, the Police Spokesperson for the Southern region explained that some of the violators had spent a night there while others joined them in the morning.

He added that most of them had no face masks and there was no social distancing as they were holding hands praying.

Kanamugire advised all believers to go to churches that are permitted to hold services instead of exposing their lives to the deadly virus.

According to the Rwanda Biomedical Centre, all people caught in the incident were tested and 10 people tested Covid-19 positive.

All violators paid Rwf 10,000 as penalty for each.

Mobilisation

While speaking to the national broadcaster, Police Spokesperson CP Jean Bosco Kabera urged all church leaders to help the government sensitise their followers on COVID-19 precautions.

Referring to the Scripture in the Book of Revelation talking about Jesus’ second coming, Kabera said that it recorded that the King (Jesus Christ) will come back to take the church, but meanwhile as He is not back yet, church leaders should help us to protect the members of that church from contaminating or spreading this pandemic.

“Church leaders have vital responsibilities. We urge them to sensitise their members. The virus is a tough challenge; we should all invest much effort. Everyone should understand their responsibilities. To pray from home personally is not prohibited, everyone can do it instead of breaching the guidelines,” Kabera added.

Currently, the City of Kigali alongside eight districts including Burera, Gicumbi, Kamonyi, Musanze, Nyagatare, Rubavu, Rwamagana and Rutsiro is under a 10-day lockdown following the resolutions of a Cabinet Meeting held virtually on Wednesday, July 14.

Churches in other parts of the country with permission to operate are allowed to conduct Sunday services at 30 percent of the building capacity.