Three members of the new Christian sect in Wera Sub-County, Amuria district spent the night in police cells for allegedly manipulating their followers against modern treatment and drinking borehole water.
The trio identified as John Steven Obelon, Emmanuel Okello, and Ben Auto are sons of the sect leader, Sheronat Alamo, the founder of the newly founded St. Sheranat Church in Olenai Village in Wera Sub County.
The church has allegedly been recruiting, receiving, and harboring followers at the residence of Alamo Sharonat, a self-styled pastor and fortune teller, who changed her name to Alipan Serinat after allegedly being touched by the Holy Spirit. Preliminary findings indicate that Alamo has been manipulating her congregation and victims into total submission to live solitary life from other community members.
Oscar Gregg Ageca, the East Kyoga Regional Police Spokesman says that the church members were confined in the worship center and were prohibited from drinking borehole or tap water in preference for only spring water.
The followers were also prohibited from seeking or getting medical attention from any hospital or even going to the hospital in case they fell sick.
They were instead asked to spend their time (both days and nights), praising, worshipping, and studying the Bible. In the process, some of the followers developed ailments after starving for days without eating or drinking water. By the time of the arrest, some followers were found in critical health condition, worshipping at St. Sheranat Church.
Ageca says that the survivors were rushed to Amuria Hospital for medical attention. They include Samali Imalingat, 28, and Grace Akello, 22, residents of Amolo sub-county, Marisirino Egwalu, 71, resident of Wera Sub County- all in Amuria district and Margaret Adeke, 60, resident of Gweri sub-county in Soroti district, among others
According to Ageca, when a member dies, the church beats drums to help the spirit ascend to heaven. He adds that the church is also involved in the alleged cleansing of people’s homes at the cost of one million and five hundred thousand Shillings.
The preliminary findings have also established that the church is not registered and is housed in grass-thatched huts with no sanitary facilities for its members.
The Police in Amuria have started investigations vide Amuria CRB 275/2023 for the offense of Doing Acts Intended to Cause Grievous Harm and any others as may be preferred by the Director of Public Prosecution.
In February this year, hundreds of people in Teso sneaked into Ethiopia over alleged fears of doom days. They sold their property including land, houses, and motor vehicles to facilitate their journey to Ethiopia. The group is yet to return to Uganda.