Gulu Churches Restrict New Year Vigils

1983 Views Gulu, Uganda

In short
Under the move, hundreds of Christians expected to attend cross-over vigils in the various churches tonight will be prevented from returning home during and after welcoming the new year.

Churches in northern Uganda town of Gulu have imposed restrictions over New Year vigils.

Under the move, hundreds of Christians expected to attend cross-over vigils in the various churches tonight will be prevented from returning home during and after welcoming the new year.

This is to protect Christians from falling in the trap of iron bar hit-men currently causing insecurity in the town. Two people were attacked and injured during Christmas by suspected iron bar hit-men behind Kakanyero Hotel and Ring road in Pece despite similar restrictions in various churches.  

Rev. Godfrey Loum, the Vicar Of Christ Church parish says they expect Christians to get to church as early as 7 pm and remain there till daybreak when it is safe to return home.

Similar restrictions have been imposed in Watoto Church Gulu, Faith Cathedral and Catholic Cathedral. At Catholic Holy Rosary Parish, Constantine Ouma, the chairperson Pastoral Council says Christians will remain within the confines of the church to guarantee their safety. They are also not allowing Christians to walk out of the church gate for security reasons. He says they will close the church gate to Christians by 8 pm.
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Since September three people have been killed and 17 others injured during attacks by iron-bar hit-men. The assailants waylay their victims as they return home at night and early hours of the morning.

Security continues to urge for vigilance despite being on their toes to guarantee safety of civilians through night patrols.

The retired Bishop of Northern Uganda, Dr. Benoni Ogwal Y. Abwang, told Uganda Radio Network in an interview that the problem of iron bar hit-men should be tackled through addressing poverty and widespread unemployment in the region.

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He advised communities to work together to create jobs and address high poverty. 

On Friday, 17 suspected iron bar hit-men were remanded to Gulu central prison until January 17th. They were charged with murder and attempted murder.

Patrick Jimmy Okema, Aswa River Police spokesperson says security has been greatly boosted in Gulu town following the deployment of Flying Squad during the festive season. 

Martin Okoyo, the Gulu district Police Commander, says Police will work hard to ensure that peace.

 

About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.