COVID-19: Close to 20 caught praying in forest

On 15 June 2021 at 06:12

Nineteen people were on Sunday, June 13, arrested in Kageyo Sector, Gicumbi District for holding a prayer gathering contrary to Government directives on preventing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Police and local leaders found the group at about 9am, congregating in Ikadeshi forest located in Nyirabadugu Village, Gihembe Cell, Kageyo Sector.

Worshippers belong to Catholic and Pentecostal churches and had come from Burera, Rulindo and Gicumbi districts.

Felix Ndayambaje, the Mayor of Gicumbi District, who was part of the enforcement team, warned the believers against such prohibited practices.

"Behaving in such a manner during this critical moment... no one should entertain it. It is disregarding and hampering government efforts to contain the virus and putting other people at high risks of catching and spreading the virus," Ndayambaje said.

"Real christians prayer for good health... for good life but not putting people in danger," he added.

He advised them to go to churches which were allowed to resume rather than exposing their lives and those of others at risks.

Gicumbi District Police Commander (DPC), Superintendent of Police (SP) Jean Bosco Minani said that the violators were arrested due to a tip off by concerned residents.

"We were called in by residents who spotted a gathering in Ikadeshi forest. When Police and local leaders arrived there, we found 19 people praying and close to each other with no one wearing a face mask," said SP Minani.

He urged the public to adhere to the government directives to protect themselves from the deadly virus.

"This is the second time in just two days that we have arrested people in these prohibited gatherings. Two days ago, we caught 30 people, now these 19; it is unfortunate that we can still observe people behaving like this," the DPC said.

He warned that Police will not tolerate such behaviors and practices and called upon the public to continue reporting such violations.

The violators were taken to Byumba stadium where they were educated on health measures, government directives and handed administrative fines.

Worshippers arrested holding a prayer gathering in the forest contrary to Government directives on preventing the spread of Covid-19.