Authorities in Zimbabwe are to deport a Rwandan together with two Congolese nationals after they attempted to open a church which promotes 'Satanism' in the southern African country.
Zimbabwean police say Theonetse Busy Mana (allegedly changed from Bizimana) from Rwanda, George Rene Lungange and Ngendo Brangsto from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are being held at the Mutare Remand Prison while their deportation papers are being processed.
They have been staying as refugees at Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge, 422 kilometres south-east of Harare, but they offended authorities after they applied for permission to open a church that promotes Satanism as a religion.
Zimbabwean police said the three will not be charged for breaking any laws in the country but will simply be deported.
"The best we can do is to separate them from others and we have achieved that," said Superintendent Reuben Zimondi, the spokesperson in charge at Mutare Remand Prison.
"We are facilitating their deportation by following proper procedures."
Zimbabwe is predominantly a Christian oriented country. Islam and other religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism are tolerated. But Satanism is largely unacceptable in communities in Zimbabwe, according to sources.
The three argued that Satanism was a popular religion in other countries hence they saw nothing wrong in promoting it as a religion in Zimbabwe, but authorities could not take any of that and arrested them.
Lungange, who appeared outspoken, said they applied for the licence to open the church at the Tongogara Refugee Camp, and they were surprised when law enforcement agents and officials from the social welfare ministry came to the camp to question them about their intentions.
"You people in Zimbabwe believe that Satan is evil, yet he is just an ordinary person like you and me," Lungange said from the remand prison in Mutare.
"Why do you persecute people who follow him?"
He added: "Satan is a spirit and so is God but the fact is Satanism is more powerful than Jesus since it is a mere spirit like God."
The Congolese, who claim to be a leader of a political party in the eastern DRC's North Kivu, claimed Satan offered more riches than God.
The Rwandan did not speak to journalists. There are about 800 Rwandan refugees in Zimbabwe. The majority are staying at the refugee camp.
Some of those in these camps are said to be fearing to return home because of lies being fed to them by other refugees who are actually fugitives who played a role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.