The outspoken Priest of Kitanga Catholic Parish in the Kabale Diocese Rev. Fr. Gaetano Batanyenda has challenged religious leaders in Uganda to rise up and speak out on the current wave of killings in Greater Masaka by publicly condemning and demanding justice for the murdered people.
Fr. Gaetano who is also the vice Chairperson of the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda in Kigezi subregion and Vice Chairperson of Kick Corruption out of Uganda – KICK-U, challenged his fellow clerics while addressing journalists in Kabale Town on Thursday.
He becomes the second prominent religious leader to demand action over Masaka Killings after the Bishop of Masaka Diocese Serverus Jjumba who demanded that the government immediately stop the horrifying and devilish situation in Greater Masaka that has seen close to 30 people murdered by unknown assailants.
Residents in Greater Masaka have been in panic since last month when unknown assailants launched an attack that has left 28 people dead. Most of the victims are elderly people, who are hit with blunt objects on the head. Some were hacked with machetes.
According to Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga, the groups behind the killings of people in Greater Masaka are organized and sponsored by individuals that are yet to be discovered.
Police detectives have ruled out monetary benefits or land wrangles since suspects do not take anything from their victims. Besides, those targeted are at the lowest of the economic ladder.
However, Fr. Gaetano expressed concern that institutions like the Inter-Religious Council Of Uganda, Uganda Episcopal Conference, Uganda Joint Christian Council, Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, Baptist Union of Uganda, National Alliance of Pentecostal and Evangelical Churches of Uganda, among others have not come out to condemn the brutal murders in Masaka and demand for action from Government.
He also challenged all religious leaders to individually raise their voices and push all concerned authorities into stopping the killing of innocent people.
Fr. Gaetano also took a swipe at Police and its sister security agencies for failing their role of protecting people and their property. He also questioned the role of curfew restrictions since the killers attack their victims at night.
“If the people are attacked during the night, what’s the role of Curfew? Where do the hooligans pass to reach the victims? We need an explanation from the Police,” said Fr. Gaetano.
He further noted that he was not going to applaud Security Agencies for arresting the 66 people suspected to have had a hand in the ongoing killings until the suspects are convicted and penalized by courts of law. Fr. Gaetano asked the officers to use professional approaches to crime investigations and avoid arresting the wrong people.
10 out of the 66 suspects arrested were arraigned in court on Wednesday, and the Masaka Chief Magistrate, Charles Yeteise remanded the group to Ssaza Government Prison until September 15 for mention of their case after the state prosecutor told court that investigations are still ongoing.
While, referring to President Museveni’s recent address about security and Human rights, Fr. Gaetano reminded the Security agencies that use of torture on the suspects would be a wrong way of obtaining information that would lead to the end of killings in Greater Masaka.
While eulogizing the late Lt Gen Paul Lokech, the former Deputy Inspector General of Police on Friday, President Museveni blamed the prevailing insecurity in some parts of the country on the Allied Democratic Forces rebel group militants, who are reportedly hiding in eastern part of DR Congo.
Museveni said they had launched a terror campaign on innocent Ugandans and promised that they “will be held accountable.
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