Police in Masaka have stormed a home in Bukomansimbi where over 40 children are said to have been receiving suspicious training. The children all of them Muslims are aged between 3-17 years. They were found this morning in a huge house found at Meelu village in Butenga Sub County, about 30 km West of Masaka Town. The children claim that they were picked up from the districts of Busia, Kampala, Iganga, Luweero, and Mubende by Sheikh Yusuf Mbaziira and one Sheikh Kassim. Joseph Sentongo, Butenga local leader says that Mbaziira is not a resident of the area. Sentongo says that they tried to go and inspect the school but Mbaziira and the children nearly lynched them. He alleges that Mbaziira ordered the children to beat them up should they dare enter his compound. Sentongo says that the children accused the local leaders of criminal trespass. A 5-year old child, who only identifies himself as Yusuf says that he was picked from Busia. He says he does not remember his home. He says they spend most of time studying the Quran. Yusuf, who looks emaciated, says they take one meal a day. He says he wants to go back to his home but does not remember his home. Noah Sserunjogi, the Southern Region police spokesman says that they stormed the school on a tip off from area residents. He says that during the raid police arrested Hajati Fatuma Najjuma. He explains that the school is not registered with the local authorities and some of the children found there are not of school going age. He says that Sheikh Yusuf Mbaziira and the trainer only identified as Kassim escaped arrest. He argues that they have seized some Islamic files and books as exhibits. Sserunjogi says they are investigating the school for its possible links with terrorism. He argues that police has information that the children are undergoing training which poses a threat to national security. // Cue in: "The moment ...." Cue out: "......investigation into this matter."// Fatuma Najjuma, who was found at the school, denies that the children have been receiving instruction in terrorism. She explains that they get funding from well wishers abroad to train in the children in Islamic studies but declines to divulge further details. Najjuma is detained at Bukomansimbi police station as police hunts for sheikh Mbaziira and his allies.
Updated: 25 Oct, 17:4317:43
About the author
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.