Over one thousand people in Burera District on Monday attended the burial of six people who were killed in a Pentecostal Church during last Sunday’s heavy rains.
Five members of the church choir died on spot while another one died at Butaro Hospital after the church collapsed on them.
The incident happened while over 25 choir members were conducting rehearsals.
Also destroyed were over 30 houses and 10 classrooms at a school, Ecole Secondaire de Kirambo.
Bodies of five victims were buried in Kirambo Pentecostal parish premises in Rusarabuye cell after a requiem mass while the other was buried in his family home.
The dead included a seven-year old, three females and two men.
Mourners described the deceased as dedicated Christians who supported and respected all people regardless of one’s status.
Local officials said the rain destroyed the weak walls of the mud and wattle structure and the roof was ripped off before it collapsed.
The church was still under construction.
Evaliste Nshimiyimana, one of the survivors lost a wife and a son to teh tragedy. He described it as a tragic incident but added that ‘God wanted to take back His children’.
“I was guiding the choir after the routine church service, strong wind was blowing, few minutes later the roof was ripped off, we started fleeing but my wife and my second born (son) could not make it, they died with other three people on the spot,” Nshimiyimana said.
He added that his wife was not among those who were required to remain in church after service but she was out waiting for them to go home together.
“When it rained she entered the church with the baby and they died few minutes after entering. Hadn’t it been for God’s will, they would have gone home with others. May God receive all of them,” he added.
Another survivor recalled the moment when the roof was blown off.
“We started fleeing. I survived because the walls fell seconds after I escaped,” said the survivor.
Dr Tharcisse Mpunga, the director of Butaro Hospital, said eight of the injured admitted there were steadily recovering while two others were transferred to Kigali University Teaching Hospital for further treatment.
The Governor of Northern Province, Aime Bosenibamwe, who attended burial assured families of the deceased of government’s support.
“It is a big loss for your families, they have died so young. The government stands with you in this sorrowful period, it is hard to accept death but as Christians we believe in life after death,” said Bosenibamwe.
Samuel Sembagare, the Mayor of Burera, reiterated that there will be more vigilance on people constructing buildings, including churches before giving them construction and occupancy permits.