Rwanda: Religious Sect Rejects New IDs

Karongi, Rwanda — Members of a religious sect in the districts of Rutsiro and Karongi, have been arrested for rejecting the national identification cards.

The group, belonging to a breakaway sect of the Seventh Day Adventists, believes that national IDs are 'satanic and are therefore prohibited by the Bible'.

Prosecution maintains that the suspects go around urging neighbours and friends to reject the new national identification cards and other various government programmes.

"The campaign by these people to reject the IDs is the main reason they are in jail. They also don't participate in monthly community work (umuganda), don't subscribe to medical insurance (Mutuelle de Santé) and some have even threatened to boycott next month's presidential elections," prosecution maintains.

When contacted, Ephraim Munyemana, of the Kibuye Seventh Day Adventist Church dismissed such beliefs.

"Our religion does not teach followers to reject national IDs. We teach God's love, kindness and togetherness," he said.

Of the Sixty-three people so far, arrested in Karongi district, 34 have been remanded at Gitarama prison while the rest are under custody at Bwishyura Police Station in Karongi District.

Seven mothers were temporarily released on grounds that they had young children to look after.