RUHANGO – Twenty one people said to be members of the Adventist Church in Ruhango district have been arrested and detained at Nyamagana Police Station for allegedly refusing to take possession of their national Identity cards, on account of their religion.
The District Police commander, Fred Simugaya, told The New Times that the group cited ‘numbers 666’ inscribed on the IDs as the reason for their rejection because it’s contrary to their religious beliefs.
The law stipulates that every Rwandan above the age of 16 must possess a national identity, and such resistance is punishable, according to Police.
Police sources added that the group has rejected acquiring other forms of official documents issued by various public agencies. These include driving permits, enrolment on voter’s registers and health insurance scheme.
“We cannot take possession of such documents on the account of the Biblical revelations and teachings that identify the numbers ‘666’ inscribed on most of these documents with satan,” one of those held known as Aaron Nyabyenda said.
However, a local pastor of the same Adventist Church differed with those arrested. Job Niyirema, the Adventist Church pastor in the area, said that the arrested christians have not heeded his call to change their attitude and beliefs that are largely based on what he termed as ‘ignorance.’
In response the group however, disputed Pastor Niyirema’s claims, saying that the cause of their resistance was not due to ignorance but strong faith in God.