JINJA, UGANDA: Kiira Regional Police have arrested three prime suspects in connection with setting ablaze a Jinja-based Holy Healing Ministries International Church, killing two suspected believers on spot.
The church is located in Mpumudde- Kimaka, the southern division in Jinja City.
The suspects whose identities were still concealed by security as it would jeopardize investigations, reportedly set the church on fire in the wee hours of Thursday morning killing Mzee Jonathan,90, and another yet-to-be-identified male adult.
One of the congregants told DailyExpress on condition of anonymity, that the church was set ablaze at around 7:00 am when the biggest part of the congregation of the night prayers had departed.
The fire is said to have started from the rooftop, weakening it and forcing it to collapse on some of the congregants who were in the church. The fire consumed the makeshift wooden church before police fire and rescue team could do anything to put it out.
Kiira Regional Police spokesperson ASP James Mubi confirmed the arrest of the suspects saying investigations are already underway to establish the motive behind the act.
“We have so far arrested three prime suspects and still searching for others. It’s alleged that the suspects were in a group and attacked Holy Healing Ministries church by setting it ablaze and unfortunately two people lost their lives in the church fire,” ASP Mubi said.
According to Mubi, preliminary information gathered indicates that pastor Joseph Muwanguzi, the church presiding pastor, and a one Bagaga James who sold land to the church have been having land conflicts surrounding payments of the said church land, which could have caused the arson attack.
“Information present shows that the church owner, Pastor Joseph Muwanguzi and the one who sold to him church land, Bagaga James have been in conflicts over this land. Pastor alleges that he paid the church land but Bagaga has since turned down the allegation,” Mubi added.
“This has come at a time when the said land conflicts are still in Jinja court but it’s unfortunate that instead of following court proceedings, they have decided to handle the matter unlawfully,” ASP Mubi said before calling upon people to always handle conflicting issues in a peaceful and lawful manner.
Mubi assured the general public especially the people of Mpumudde that police will avail a comprehensive report pertaining to the fire incident after examining the fire scene and making thorough investigations.
At the time of filing this story, the bodies of the deceased had been taken to Jinja Regional Referral Hospital mortuary for autopsy.
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