The Police in Kampala Metropolitan South Region have identified eight of the 12 people who had been chained inside Pastor Geoffrey Ssemwogerere’s Church in Seguku.
The New Jerusalem alias Glory Sinai was on Tuesday raided by police led by Inspector of Police –IP Deo Masereka following a tip-off from the locals. The raid led to the rescue of 12 people who had been chained.
By yesterday, only one person Hassan Mukasa had been identified as having come from Masaka City to protect a piece of land he takes care of at Wankuluku, Lubaga Division in Kampala.
Mukasa said he received a phone call informing him that Pr Ssemwogerere wanted to buy the land. Mukasa said he came with documents to prove ownership of the land but also to inform the buyer that it was not on sale but he ended up being chained for six weeks.
Police have now identified the other people as Maria Gorret Nakyanzi 25 from Mubende, Amos Bajjanibera 22 from Kyankwanzi, Richard Teebi 27 from Entebbe, Robert Kiyimba 30 from Kitintale in Nakawa division, Hussein Baale 22 from Kawanda along Bombo road and Ivan Selumpanise 30 from Kabale.
Hamuza Busulwa, one of the people who alerted the police said he first heard alarms in the night and that when he woke up to see what was happening, he found a man chasing another for unknown reasons. It has since emerged that Kato Kigozi, 26, was the one being chased by Julius Bwambale, 42, after escaping from the church in the night hours.
Bwambale has since told detectives that he was once a patient at Glory Sinai Church and that after being healed he was given a job of guarding the patients. “I was chasing Kigozi who had escaped from the church. My job is to ensure no one escapes and no unauthorized person should access the patients,” Bwambale said.
Pr Ssemwogerere’s case is under reference number SD 27/20/09/2022. Police have also established that more than 50 other people had escaped from the church some days ago after going through worse conditions.
Patrick Onyango, the Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson, said a visit to the church by detectives led to the recovery of exhibits that include 23 chains, 24 padlocks, and register books in which all names of the alleged persons with mental illness had been recorded.
However, some locals have revealed that the chained victims would be brought in early in the morning or evening hours by their relatives. Onyango said they are following up on the allegations to establish facts.
Pr Ssemwogerere hasn’t responded to police’s questions on why he was chaining the victims instead of taking them to a health facility.
Kajjansi Police Station on Wednesday also received people demanding his release claiming that they willingly handed over their mentally sick relatives to Ssemogerere for treatment.