Police arrests 200 as pilgrims perish at Namugongo

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Thousands attended prayers at Namugongo

Police has arrested over 200 over several criminal activities at Namugongo Martyrs shrines where pilgrims gathered to celebrate Uganda Martyrs Day.

Emilian Kayima, the Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, told Uganda Radio Network, over 120 suspects are in police custody at Kira Division.

According to Kayima, the offences for which they were arrested include petty theft, dealing in counterfeit, obtaining money by false pretence and smoking Marijuana, among others.

Some of the suspects were apprehended during prayers while others after the prayers.

Frank Mwesigwa, Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander, says they gathered at least 200 people over offenses related to theft and public nuisance.

According to Mwesigwa, over 60 cases of phone theft and 12 cases of missing children were recorded.

To be specific, police has 25 children under its care after they separated from their parents during events at Namugongo shrines.

Thousands of Christians converged at both the Catholic and Anglican shrines for prayers in memory of 45 Christian converts, both Anglican and Catholic, who were executed some 131 years ago on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga of Buganda.

Some dead, others hospitalised

Theresa Benta, a pilgrim from Fort Portal collapsed and died during offertory at Namugongo Catholic shrine.

Dan Kyamanywa, the Kibaale District Health Officer (DHO), who was also the coordinator for the health committee for this year’s Martyrs Day celebrations, told Daily Monitor the deceased aged 80 had stood up to give her offertory before she collapsed and died instantly.

Health workers on the ground rushed to help her and she was taken to Zia Angella health center for treatment but she was already dead.

On Wednesday, a pilgrim from Lira district collapsed and died at Matugga trading centre in Wakiso District.

Samuel Okwir Odwe, the Moroto County legislator identified the deceased as Scovia Moro.

The medical team at Namugongo gave treatment to more than 20,000 pilgrims who according to Kyamanywa suffered from malaria and body fatigue since they had trekked hundreds of kilometres.

At least 15 pilgrims were rushed to the different hospitals in critical condition.

Last year, a 61 year old man collapsed during last year’s celebrations and was pronounced dead on his way to Kiruddu Hospital.