GICUMBI – Local authorities in Gicumbi District have banned Christians from praying near Rusumo River which divides the sectors of Kageyo and Mutete.
The move came after a man identified as Aaron Niyirema fell into the river and died instantly, earlier last month, while leading prayers at night. The body was discovered floating in the river after six days.
According to security officials, many Christians come from different parts of the country to meet and pray from the shores of the river; most of them from Pentecostal churches.
‘We blocked anyone from praying there because the place is risky, and we have already alerted the area leaders to carry out patrols to see that no one goes there.
“God is everywhere; I don’t see any reason why one should risk their lives in such a dangerous river,” said a police officer who preferred anonymity.
Area residents, who spoke to The New Times, said the area was regarded as sacred and believed to bestow blessings upon whoever prays from there.
“Various groups would come and pray during the night; some would go up the hill and some would go and pray in the middle of the running water following where there’s high pressure,” said Emmanuel Muhizi.
“We would see many people in vehicles spending nights here especially over the weekends and we were also wondering what special thing this river had that we didn’t know about,” wondered another resident.
The place also lack structures to facilitate worship, which according to local leaders, was another reason why congregating there was banned.