Police Disperse 400 Suspected Cult Followers in Masaka

2079 Views Masaka, Uganda

In short
Police ordered the followers to disperse but some of them responded started pelting the cops with stones forcing them to respond with teargas and live bullets.

Police have used live bullets and teargas to disperse 400 suspected cult members from a shrine at Nabitaka village in Kyesiiga Sub County in Masaka. Heavily armed cops led by Henry Kavuma, the Masaka District Police Commander stormed the shrine on Wednesday forcing the cult leader Aloysius Kyambadde to flee into hiding leaving his followers. Police ordered the followers to disperse but some of them responded by pelting the cops with stones forcing them to fire teargas and live bullets.

Majority of the cult members were elderly women, young women and children as young as 12 years of age. Henry Kavuma, the Masaka District Police Commander says they stormed the shrine after receiving information that Aloysius Kyambadde, the cult leader was involved in dubious deals. He claims that they received reports linking Kyambadde to the theft of vehicles, motor cycles and bicycles belonging to his followers. Kavuma says that they are also investigating reports that the cult is involved in human sacrifice.

Gonzaga Yiga, the Chairperson Nabitaka village says they sought police intervention after seeing more than 70 children at the shrine performing rituals alongside their parents instead of going to school. According to Yiga, when he went to seek an explanation from Kyambadde on what was going on at the shrine he threatened to kill him. He claims that Kyambadde was stopping children from going to school on ground that it was a waste of time and resources. Yiga also claims that Kyambadde also stopped sick people from seeking medical attention on grounds that he had healing powers.

Peter Nyombi, a resident of Nabitaka says that he visited Kyambadde’s shrine for healing from constant headaches in vain. He claims that after abandoning the cult, Kyambadde attempted to grab his three acre piece of land purportedly for refusing to pay him for curing his headache. Nyombi says since then, Kyambadde has been storming his home threatening to bewitch him over his land. Some elderly women followers claimed that they came from as far as Mbarara, Lyantonde, Kabale, Rakai, Kampala and Rwanda for healing.

By the time of filing this stop, some of the cult members had started returning home while many other claimed that they didn’t have transport. Kayinga Kiggundu, the Chairperson Masaka Traditional Healers Association describes Kyambadde as a quack witch doctor and conman. He claims that they investigated him and established that he didn’t have any healing powers as he claims. He advises residents to stop trusting such people.


About the author

Edward Bindhe
Bindhe prides himself on being a part of the society he writes about. He believes there is no way a journalist can understand his society unless it considers him a part of it. This is why he is dedicated to investigating the challenges of the "little person."

Bindhe says, "My work reflects the Uganda Radio Network unique approach to news." Not many Ugandan journalists would consider or even notice the re-emergence of Water Hyacinth on a lake. Bindhe does.

Truant children will attract Bindhe's attention until he gets to the bottom of their truancy: poverty and the need to work to earn bread for their families. These are the kinds of stories Bindhe is often after.

Edward Bindhe is the Masaka URN bureau chief. Rakai, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Kalangala, Mpigi, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts fall under his docket. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.

A Mass Communication graduate from Uganda Christian University, Bindhe started practising journalism in 2008 as a reporter for Radio Buddu in Masaka district.