An incessant rainstorm that pelted down last night has killed five among eleven believers who were praying in a cave located in Nyamagabe District, southwestern Rwanda.
By the time of publication, three bodies had been found while local police and authorities searched for the rest. The victims had not yet been identified.
Bonavanture Uwamahoro, Nyamagabe District mayor confirmed the tragedy and said the deceased included men and women mainly from Nyanza district.
According to some local news reports, members of the prayer group are from Nyamagabe and Nyanza districts.
Six who walked out of the cave alive told a local newspaper that, after overflowing, a stream known as Rukondo switched its usual track into the shallow two-end cavity and carried away five of the prayer group members.
The cave is a rock-made walkthrough referred to as Cyanika cave by Christian believers who flock there to pray.
In a place so isolated, they say, God hears you best and recognizes your sacrifice.
There is at least a handful of such places across the country.
As such practice is vehemently discouraged by the government due to many lives that have been lost in the past, the group had to sneak in without any official’s knowledge.
All survivors were immediately taken to two nearby health centres, according to the Police spokesperson in Southern Province, CIP Sylvestre Twajamahoro
“Religious leaders should forbid their people to pray from unknown places,” warned CIP Twajamahoro. “It is essentially prohibited to hold prayer meetings in mountains, caves and other places that might endanger their lives.”
The five adds to 53 other victims of floods, thunder strikes, landslides among other climate disasters since January this year, according to the Ministry of Emergency Management.
Eighty-four others were injured while 858 houses and 196 hectares of crops were destroyed.
Earlier this week, Olivier Kayumba, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry cautioned people to remain vigilant during this rainy season expected to last through late May.