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Church Attack Triggers Panic in Tooro

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A gang of purported Tabliq Muslim fighter raided Magoma Murungimwema Pentecostal church before attacking believers during the night prayers.


Magoma village is located in Hapuyo Sub County, Kyegegwa district where the gruesome incident occurred.


The militants armed with spears and axes slaughtered Beata Mukachaka in her 20s, before chopping her head with machetes on the altar where she was preaching from.


Kyegegwa Police station officer, Grace Mwiine was shot and injured in the leg and thigh while responding to the attack. He died shortly.


The militants’ leader disappeared from the neighbouring hill.


According to Bakari Muga Bashil, the Rwenzori region police publicist, two people were arrested and detained at Kyegegwa Police Station in connection with the murder. He, however, did not give their identities for fear of jeopardizing the investigations.


Bakari now says that military and police deployment has been intensified in the area to pursue the militants and carry out deeper investigations.


“The deployment should not worry people because it is intended to pursue the enemies, guard the church and mosque”.


He confirmed some residents who had fled the area following the horrible incident have started returning back and are assured of security.


“Of course we will have the militants arrested and prosecuted. We call upon people to continue with their normal activities”.


Bakari said the police have embarked on a community policing exercise to sensitise the public on the role of vigilance in preventing crime.


Kyegegwa RDC, Mary Baguma Nyakwera urged the affected residents of Magoma to return to their homes.


“People should come back and continue with their normal life because these were just armed group and not rebels as you think. The security is beefed up in the area to contain the situation”.


Most people fled the area to the neighbouring villages and others are reported to have gone to Kabale district.


The burial of the deceased preacher on Saturday evening was attended by about 30 people.

Background of militants

According to residents of Magoma village, two men migrated from Rwanda 15 years ago and have been living in the area for all those years.


A few years ago, the youthful militants known for extremist views, would later harass and torment their mother who eventually died.


They established well-fenced shrines for military training and started forcing locals to join their activities of preaching Islam but the locals remained resistant.


“During the ‘military training’ in the shrines, recruits would be equipped with physical fitness skills”.


“The militants trained youth and even promised to take them somewhere else for better military training. We don’t know where they intended to take the boys in our village,” said Vincent Mugisa.


The people reported the group to police and were arrested but released after failure to get evidence to pin them. In what appears revenge, after being released from custody, the militants issued a strong warning to the residents, banning them from digging and planting more crops.


However, the locals continued establishing new gardens. The Islamic militants told them that if they continue with agriculture, something terrible would happen to them.


On Thursday night, armed with pangs and axes, the militants attacked the church at night and slaughtered the preacher.

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