(BBC) Rwandan President Paul Kagame has warned Catholic believers against engaging in practices that he says glorify poverty and which a government spokesperson described as “cult-like” behaviour.

He was alluding to a Catholic pilgrimage that took place in June, the new Times paper reports.

“If I ever hear about this again, that people travelled to go and worship poverty, I will bring trucks and round them up and imprison them, and only release them when the poverty mentality has left them,” Mr Kagame is quoted by the AFP news agency as telling a youth conference in the capital, Kigali, on Thursday.

“No-one must worship poverty. Do not ever do that again,” he said.

The government clarified Mr Kagame’s comments, saying he was not referencing – as had been reported – the world-famous Catholic site in Kibeho where the Virgin Mary is thought to have appeared.

“President Kagame did not at any point mention a specific pilgrimage site, and certainly not Kibeho,” spokesperson Yolande Makolo told the AFP news agency.

Ms Makolo added that the president was likely referring to “an informal pilgrimage-type event that takes place in Rutsiro district”.

At this event, faithful carry out a three-day pilgrimage that ends on a hill called Our Lady of the Poor, Rwanda’s New Times reports.

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