TESO-UGANDA/NEWSDAY: At least five pastors of the Christ Disciples Church in Ngora district are have been arrested in an ongoing massive operation to recover several church members who have gone missing.
The arrests came after the East Kyoga police leadership that oversees districts in the Teso sub-region, launched an investigation and search for the missing persons in Serere district.
The East Kyoga Regional Police Spokesman, Oscar Gregg Ageca indicated that more than 100 people had gone missing from the district. However, it was later discovered that several other people had gone missing in Ngora, Kumi, and Soroti districts.
Police investigations indicate that the missing persons are also Christ Disciples Church members. Information on the ground indicates that the members received spiritual revelation to go for evangelism and missionary work in Ethiopia.
Florence Adongo, 47, a member of the church in Ogobai cell, Kidetok town council in Serere district says that the revelation to go to Ethiopia came to the church last year through some of the leaders whom she declined to mention. Adongo who failed to travel to Ethiopia because she didn’t have money and was diagnosed with diabetes, says that the Church members were divided into two groups.
“I was in the first group and we were asked to pray and intercede until God revealed something about the journey. But our group didn’t get any feedback after praying and fasting for two days and that’s why we were sidelined,” Adongo said.
She explained that when the second group took their turn at prayer and fasting, they reportedly received feedback and guidance on how to proceed with the mission. Adongo says that each member was tasked to contribute transport and food for the journey amounting to at least two million Shillings per head.
Joseph Mada, 74, another member in Ogobai cell, which was the coordinating center for all the Christians in Serere district, says that there was fear of the rapture (end of the world) and that the Church had been guided to take refuge in Ethiopia to be spared.
Mada, the father to the founder of CDC in Ogobai only identified as George Ikwarit, 50, says that his son sold a piece of land with a house in Kidetok to raise money for his wife, Christine Iculet, and four children. The children have been identified as Isaac Apunyo, Joseph Mada, Atim, and Among, all said to be adults and were working in different districts including Moroto and Jinja.
Mada left to take care of his son’s house in Ogobai, saying that he will continue to fellowship in the same Church premises where his son and other members prayed and fasted before embarking on their journey.
George William Oumo, the LC3 Chairperson of Kidetok Town Council, says that most of the Christians who reportedly left for Ethiopia sold all their property cheaply to raise money for the journey. He says that some of the elderly Christians of CDC recalled their children from work, marriages, and schools to embark on the journey to Ethiopia.
Stella Rose Aino, a member of Ogobai Cell leadership and neighbor to Ikwarit says that before the team left the village, several people from different areas including those outside Serere converged at the Church premises for payers that lasted more than two weeks.
“We saw different kinds of vehicles converging here but we thought that it was the usual fellowship program for the Church. But to our surprise, we woke up one morning to see an empty Church and deserted homes. Even security in the area was taken by surprise,” she said.
At Ikwarit’s house in Ogobai Cell, a COVID-19 certificate belonging to a 26- year- old teacher, Solomon Osello from Birongo Kitiiko in Wakiso district was found. The house also had notebooks of several students who studied in different schools across Teso and other parts of the country.
Ivan James Namoma, the Serere Deputy Resident District Commissioner says that the CDC journey has affected the staff of Serere District Local Government. This includes the Acting Commercial Officer, Simon Peter Opolot, and the teacher of Olwa- Kasilo Primary School, Christine Achom who are said to be part of the team that traveled to Ethiopia.
Oscar Gregg Ageca, the East Kyoga Regional Police Spokesman, says that the team arrested in Ngora will help with the investigations into the matter. He notes that the team was arrested while organizing more church members to travel to Ethiopia.
According to sources in Serere, the team traveled by road through Nairobi to Ethiopia. They reportedly started the journey around February 17, 2023, taking advantage of the Serere County MP campaigns that preoccupied security institutions in the district.
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