ROMBO, Tanzania — Two Christian parishioners drowned while being baptized in a river after being swept away by the strong current, authorities said.
Police say the two men, Gasper Gervas, 47, and Proches Msema, 30, died on Sunday while being baptized with several others in the waters of the Ungwasi River in northern Tanzania.
Authorities have detained the pastor of the Shalom Church, a charismatic Christian flock, for questioning to determine what had happened. The waters were high and had a strong current at the time, police said.
“We are holding the church Pastor and other followers for interrogation. We are holding them for further investigation to understand on how others dead and some of the people managed to escape death,” Kilimanjaro Region police commander, Hamis Selemani, told the Azania Post.
The police advised that parishioners should check the depth of rivers before performing river baptisms. The religious ceremony is done in rivers mainly by charismatic churches in Tanzania.