Police intercept 55 Ugandan sect members

Some of the 55 Ugandans who are members of Christ Disciples Church, a religious sect, temporarily held at the Nakuru Central Police Station on May 2, 2023. [Kennedy Gachuhi, Standard]

As the discussions around cultist organisations continue, 55 Ugandan nationals believed to be members of a religious sect were on Monday morning intercepted at the Nakuru City bus park.

The 55 sect members told the police and journalists that they are members of the Christ Disciples Church (CDC) and were headed to Yangatom, Ethiopia for an evangelical mission.

Nakuru East Senior Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) Were Simiyu said the 55 religious faithfuls lacked proper travel documents despite being on an international trip.

“We woke up to the abnormal movement of people. Upon questioning them, we realised these are our neighbours from Uganda who did not have travel documents. On further inquiry, we realised they were travelling to Ethiopia,” said Simiyu.

The senior DCC said the foreigners who included 29 adults and 26 minors were headed to the Nyamatong area of Ethiopia where they were to conduct an evangelism mission.

“There was nothing wrong with that but you cannot travel internationally the way they were doing. We were also concerned by the fact that there were many children aged below ten years,” said Simiyu.

The sub-county security committee which also included officials from the Immigration department took the Ugandans to Nakuru Central Police Station where they were interrogated.

“We have only one person who understands English apart from their Iteso native language. In Ethiopia where they speak English and Amharic, they claim they were to get interpreters,” he said.

With the ongoing wave of cultist movements being exposed in the country, Simiyu said that the State would not just allow them to proceed to their destination unless they provided proper and official travel documentation.

“The only thing they have are their Ugandan national ID cards. With the gaps in their story, it became a concern to us and we have decided to facilitate their return to Uganda so that they can make proper plans for their trip,” said Simiyu.

Isaac Adile, the only one who spoke in English said they had left Eastern Uganda on Sunday and got stranded at the Nakuru bus terminus after they ran out of busfare.

“Our leader, Pastor Isaac is in Busia coming this way to join us for the rest of the journey. We have contacted him and we are expecting that he will send us more bus fare,” said Adile.

Asked about their mission in Ethiopia and why they tagged along their children, Adile said that they were going to spread the gospel to Ethiopians for a week.

Adile said they gained entry into Kenya through the Busia border and that there were more members of the CDC church who had gone ahead of them for the same mission. This comes barely a month after the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the arrival of hundreds of Ugandan nationals who are reportedly fleeing their country over doomsday fears.

"Hundreds of Ugandans have entered Ethiopia through southern Ethiopia, claiming that the end of the world is approaching, and Ethiopia is the only safe place," said Meles Alem, the ministry’s spokesperson.