By Rogers Sunday
The army has said the Friday incident at Chali Born Victory Church in Hapuyo Sub County in Kyegegwa district in which two people were killed by armed men was not a terrorist attack.
The Rwenzori regional UPDF spokesperson Lt. Ninsiima Rwemijuma on Saturday said what happened is a confusion which was created by some members of the Islamic community and a Pentecostal church.
“What happened in Kyegegwa is not Al-shabab and not even a rebel group because we know the characteristics of all those groups. For us in security we think it is mere thuggery,” Ninsiima said.
He added that two suspects a one Yahaya and Rashid had so far been arrested in connection with the attack and are being held at Kyegegwa Police Station.
The 2:00am attack on the church happened as an overnight prayer meeting was going on. Eighteen-year old Beatrice Mukashaka who was attending the service was hacked to death, while three other people including a one-year old baby were injured and are currently nursing their wounds at Midas Touch Medical Centre in Kyenjojo district.
Police deputy spokesperson Polly Namaye in an earlier statement said the attackers fled to a nearby mosque which was later surrounded by police who had responded to the distress call. According to Namaye an attacker who had taken cover inside the mosque opened fire on the police killing their officer, AIP Grace Mwine.
The Police and UPDF have heavily deployed in the area following the incident. Kyegegwa District Police Commander Musa Tibakirana on Saturday said they deployed after an alarm had been raised by members of the church.
Gardens belonging to the attackers were destroyed by the locals
Jackson Turyamureba, a pastor attached to Chali Born victory Church said as he preaching on the fateful night he saw a person peeping through the window.
“I thought he was a drunkard and told him to either enter or go away. Shortly after that I heard doors being banged and men shouting Allah Akbar as they stormed the church brandishing pangas and beating worshippers,” he said.
The 20 worshippers who had congregated for the overnight prayers were using candles as their source of light. Turyamureba said he flashed a torch that was in his hand at the attackers who were about eight in number and noticed that they had concealed their faces.
“I saw one of the attackers grabbing a girl and hacking her with a panga and then I fled. One of the attackers followed me and threw a panga which went over my head. I run through a garden and the man who was pursuing me fell down and gave up the chase,” he said.
He said they have in the past had misunderstandings with a group of Muslims in the area who had unsuccessfully tried to convert them to Islam. He said these people live just 300 meters away from their church.
“We were in our Church for night prayers like we usually do on Friday when we heard them shouting as they hit the church doors” Justin Twinomugisha one of the survivors admitted at Midas touch medical Centre told the New Vision.
Polly Tashobya another survivor said that the group once said that they want to transform Uganda into an Islamic nation and that he who refuses would be killed.
Richard Asiimwe, the Hapuyo Sub County chairperson said over 40 homesteads had been deserted following the incident.
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