Crime

Teacher killed as panga-wielding thugs raid Kakumiro church

The 1 am incident also left an unconfirmed number of other congregants nursing injuries at Katikara Church of Uganda in Katikara trading centre, Katikara sub-county in the western district.

KAKUMIRO, UGANDA: Police in Kakumiro district are on a hunt for yet-to-be-identified machete-wielding assailants who stormed a church and hacked a teacher to death in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

The deceased has been identified as Lias Mugume, a teacher at Benitah High School in Katikara town who died on the spot after he was hacked to death by the attackers.

The 1 am incident also left an unconfirmed number of people nursing injuries after the assailants raided Katikara Church of Uganda in Katikara trading centre, Katikara sub-county in the western district.

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According to Mr Sunday William, the secretary for security and community affairs in the district, the yet-to-be-known assailants stormed the church on Tuesday as congregants and started hacking people who had dozed off during overnight prayers.

‘‘People were attending overnight prayers when the attack happened. After the night prayers, they decided to sleep in the church. However, shortly after sleeping, people armed with pangas raided the church and started randomly hacking members of the congregation. One died on the spot while others are nursing grave injuries. Others fled the church to save their lives,’’ Mr Williams told journalists on Tuesday morning.

Lias Mugume, a teacher at Benitah High School in Katikara town, Kakumiro District was killed during an attack on a church on June 20, 2023. PHOTO/ COURTESY

Aggrey Niwaga, who was sleeping in the unfinished church building shortly after night prayers with other seven church members narrated that he heard a loud bang on his head only to realise that it was a machete cut.

“I survived by God’s grace, otherwise, those people were determined to send me to the grave, they hit me, but I managed to escape and run out of the church. We don’t know the motive of the attack,” Niwagaba said.

Hope Kyomugaba, another church member who was sleeping in the church, said she saw two men cutting people who were sleeping near the altar.

“When they attacked, they went to the altar and started cutting people who were sleeping there and some of us who were sleeping behind managed to escape,” Kyomugaba said.

The lay leader at the church, Emmanuel Rukundo, who stays at the church, said he was woken up at 12:30 am by loud wails and alarms from the church members.

The Rev. Can. Godfrey Buro, the head of Kisiita Archdeaconry, said the attack on the church has left Christians in shock.

“As church leaders, we are in shock [because] this is the first incident to happen at our church and we don’t know the motives of the attackers. We are appealing to the Police and other security agencies to investigate and arrest the suspects,” Buro said.

The Kakumiro District Police Commander, Mr Edigar Kulaigye confirmed the harrowing incident and said a pursuit of the killers whose motive is yet to be established is already underway to have them brought to justice books.

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“We are investigating the attack on the church which left one person dead. We already have some clues and we shall arrest the suspects at any time. Our people should be calm,” Kulaigye said.

The Kakumiri church raid comes just days after suspected ADF rebels last Friday stormed Lhubiriha Secondary School in Kasese District and killed 37 students and 5 other members from within the community.



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