KIGALI - Embattled Pastor Charles Murenzi yesterday met eye-to-eye with seven girls who accuse him of raping them. They had all been summoned by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at Kacyiru, Kigali. CID chief Costa Habyara and other detectives interrogated them for over six hours. Murenzi, a pastor at Shining Light Church, was accompanied by his wife Jolly, who also happens to be the church’s senior pastor. The girls sat in the same interrogation room with Murenzi and started telling their chilling stories to Chief Superintendent Habyara. Some of the girls were clad in school uniforms.
The other detectives present included Rose Iribagiza, an assistant inspector of police in charge of gender based violence at CID.
The pastor, according to the source who attended the interrogation session reportedly bowed his head as the girls narrated their stories.
They reportedly alleged that the pastor abused them while they were still in his church, some of them at a minor age at the time of the alleged crimes.
Shining Light Church is in Gakinjiro, a Kigali City suburb.
When police asked him to respond to the sexual allegations levelled against him, Murenzi reportedly said he could not make any comment in the absence of his lawyer.
The girls (names withheld) claim Murenzi, their onetime pastor, used to harass them sexually whenever his wife was away.
The pastor is scheduled to re-appear at CID today as investigations into his case continue.
His wife has in the past defended him saying he is a victim of a witch-hunt.
A police source said yesterday Murenzi was summoned on Monday over the girls’ claims.
The pastor’s interrogations come a month after an eighteen year-old born-again girl walked to the CID headquarters and claimed the pastor sexually harassed her.
The victims had earlier in an exclusive interview with this reporter talked of how the church members attempted to enforce a cover-up in order to save the church from collapse.
The girls are part of the youths that broke away from the church two years after the alleged sexual harassment.
Some claim Murenzi used to quote the Holy Bible book or to say he had had visions about girls sleeping with other men outside the church.
One girl reportedly shocked police officers when she claimed that the pastor told her he had slept with a boyfriend. She said the pastor asked her to undress to prove she was had not had any sexual engagements with her lover.
Another victim alleges Murenzi locked her in his office and prayed for her while fondling the breasts.