Crime

Ugandan Pastor arrested for detaining patients in church instead of hospital

Soroti, (UG): Police Authorities in eastern Uganda’s Sorti City have arrested a city pastor accused of detaining critically ill patients in a church in the guise of praying for their healing instead of letting them go to hospital for medical treatment.

Simon Peter Ogoba, the lead pastor at Galilee Ministry of Christ Church, in Amen “B” cell, Amen ward in Soroti City West is currently in police custody after he was found confining over thirty Christians present, including five critically ill patients in a police operation that raided his church on Monday afternoon.

The East Kyoga police spokesperson, Mr Edison Obukulem, confirmed Pastor Ogoba’s arrest and said the patients found at his church were rescued and taken to Soroti Regional Hospital for medical attention.

Mr Obukulem warned pastors against admitting patients to their churches, stating that pastors are not medical personnel and should refer patients for medical attention instead. “Pray for them but do not admit them, always refer them for medical attention,” he said.

Pastor, Patients speak out

In defence, Pastor Ogoba who spoke to this publication revealed that the patients came to him with different health complications, and he started praying and fasting for them to get spiritual healing.

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The pastor added that most of the patients were referred to Mulago Hospital, but their cases might not require hospitalization, but only prayer.

According to him, the patients were even cared for in the church to avoid distractions at home. “So we tell them to remain here so that we can pray until they heal,” Pastor Ogoba said.

One of the patients, Mr Emmanuel Okello, said he was diagnosed with cancer in 2023 but did not receive adequate treatment in the local hospitals.

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“I preferred God’s intervention and came to the church. There is some improvement now. I will accept to go back to Mulago Hospital but I don’t have transport means,” he said.

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