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Security tight at Namugongo shrine
Publish Date: Jun 01, 2011
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By JEFF LULE
and CECILIA OKOTH

THE Police and army have beefed up security at both the Catholic and Anglican martyrs’ shrines at Namugongo and Nakiyanja respectively.

Access to the main grounds has been restricted.

Hundreds of pilgrims, who had camped in the Bassilica at Namugongo, were yesterday briefly evicted and subjected to a thorough search by armed personnel using metal detectors and sniffer dogs.
The Police have also blocked people from selling merchandise adjacent to the shrines.

“Another site has been secured for traders to carry out their transactions to avoid commotion along the martyrs’ way, which begins at Kyaliwajala to Nakiyanja,” Kira division police commander Samuel Bamuzibire explained.

Every year, on June 3, Christians trek to Namugongo to intercede with the Uganda martyrs, who were beatified on June 6, 1920 by Pope Benedict XV.

Pope Paul VI canonised them on October 8, 1964 at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

The Catholic shrine is located at the exact spot where one of the martyrs, Charles Lwanga, was killed.
He was the leader of the 23 converts both Catholics and Anglicans who were murdered for their faith on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga II in 1886.

Over 20 others were burnt alive at Nakiyanja Anglican shrine.
Yesterday, the catholic shrine, was a beehive of activity as workmen finalised decorating and painting the place.

Melodies rang out in the air as different choirs practised for the big day. At the Anglican shrine, construction was underway at the main pulpit and workers were seen cleaning.

The roads to the shrines have also been rebuilt. Several workmen from Multiplex Construction yesterday worked through the night to fix the Kireka-Namugongo road, the main route to the shrines.

Over 1,000 pilgrims from within Uganda and neighboring countries arrived in Kampala to commemorate the Martyrs’ Day celebrations.

The main celebrations at the Catholic shrines have been organised by Arua diocese, while Namirembe diocese is in charge of the Anglican shrine.

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