Six pastors have been arrested and accused of “masterminding” a ploy to disobey the Rwandan government’s order to shut down over 700 churches in one province. The pastors were alleged to have held “illegal meetings with bad intentions,” the BBC reported. The churches in the central province of Kigali were ordered to halt operations until they meet building regulations, safety and hygiene standards, and pollution laws, according to South Africa-based News24. Rwanda National Police

spokesperson Theos Badage told journalists on Monday, March 5, that the six “ringleaders” were aiming to mobilize other clergies against the authorities. It is not clear when the arrested clergymen will appear in court. Other church representatives have criticised the government’s order. Bishop Innocent Nzeyimana, president of the Churches Forum in Kigali’s Nyarugenge district, said: “Those that failed to implement a few requirements should be reopened and allowed to work while fixing the problems raised.” READ MORE