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Police restricts access to Namugongo Catholic Shrines


Visits to inside Namugongo were restricted

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The police on Thursday night blocked Christians from accessing Namugongo Catholic shrines to usher in the New Year.

Both young and adults were seen trying to convince Counter-Terrorism policemen to allow them at least enter for a few minutes blessings but their pleas fell on deaf ears.

“Allow us at least we stand outside the church for a few minutes and we come out. We are used to spending the last day of the year here. The New Year usually finds us here,” a woman accompanied by a seemingly three-year-old boy pleaded.

In response, Counter-Terrorism personnel explained to the faithful that they should have attended a New Year’s mass that was led by a parish priest, Fr Vincent Lubega, that started at 6 pm and ended at a quarter to 8 pm.

“We’re sorry we can’t let you in. We wish you had come for the New Year’s special mass which has already ended. It had more than 500 people inside and outside the church,” a Counter-Terrorism policeman told the Christians.

Namugongo Catholic Shrines often hosts over 20,000 worshippers for New Year’s overnight prayers. Christians often spend the night in praise and worship sessions led by priests.

Even though the Basilica was closed, there were two women and a child kneeling and praising at the verandas. The women seemed to be part of the crew that maintains the hygiene of the shrines.

The lights were on from one corner to another. Security personnel were standing to strategic points to ensure no one illegally access the shrines. Nearby shops that usually operate till morning on New Year’s Day had closed. Security personnel were seen patrolling Kireka-Kyaliwajjala and Kyaliwajjala –Namugongo roads.



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