Africa

Tanzania worshippers swept away in river baptism

A man is baptised by priests from the Sion church in Mbashe river near Mvezo on June 29, 2013. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Many charismatic churches in Africa perform baptisms in rivers

Tanzanian police have detained a pastor after two worshippers drowned while being baptised in a river near Rombo in the north of the country.

The two victims were overwhelmed by the current of the River Ungwasi, a police spokesman has told the BBC.

It is not clear how the pastor and the other worshippers involved managed to survive, the BBC's Odeo Sirari says.

They are members of a local church, Shalom, which is part of the charismatic Christian movement.

Africa Live: Updates on this and other stories

Baptism in a river rather than in church is seen as a way of re-enacting the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan.

The ceremony is a symbol of washing away sin and the start of a new life.

Related Topics

More on this story

Around the BBC