Police in Mityana are investigating circumstances under which a pastor has mysteriously vanished with a section of his flock and family.
Pastor Kalibala Samuel, a local from Naama Central LCI, Naama Ward, Busimbi Division, in Mityana Municipality disappeared with the group seven days ago and have since been unreachable.
Pastor Kalibala has since disappeared with seven family members including; Namuwaya Jesca, (the wife to Kintu Sulait), Ssekyewa Shakim, aged 19, Nampeewo Shifrah aged 17, Muteesasira Muhammad aged 10, Ssenabulya Muhammed aged 8, Nakintu Angel aged 4 and Uwuzeeye Mable, besides his flock.
According to police spokesperson Fred Enanga, the pastor and his followers locked their homes and have since switched off their known contacts.
Enanga explains that Namuwaya Jessica, a mother to one of the followers who went missing, managed to get in touch with her daughter identified as Nabulya Faridah, but she immediately turned off her phone without divulging any details.
Enanga told our reporter Minah Nalule that they suspect that this incident is similar to cultist activities in Kanungu where hundreds of believers were burned in a church.
“It is unfortunate that we have a pastor who is not transparent in his methods of using his powers to control his followers. Such conduct a potential of opening wounds for relatives who missed their loved ones during the Kibwetere cult saga in Kanungu.” he says
Enanga says police have so far netted three accomplices to Pastor Kalibala Samuel, who reportedly aided in transporting the victims to an unknown location.
They include; Harriet Kajubi, a 53 year old teacher, Nalweyiso Harriet, a 62 year old midwife and Ssekyewa Shakim, an 18 year old student.
This is not the first time that cultist activities are being reported in churches in Uganda. Over twenty years ago, on March 17, 2000, 700 believers were burnt to ashes at a local church in Kanungu.
They were locked inside the church, with the doors and windows nailed shut from the outside and burned. The dead were members of the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God – a doomsday cult that believed the world would come to an end at the turn of the millennium.
The faithful had been drawn by the charismatic leaders Credonia Mwerinde, a former bartender and sex worker, and ex-government employee Joseph Kibwetere, who said that they had had visions of the Virgin Mary in the 1980s.