Police Rescue 35 Children Studying Islam in Illegal ‘School’

Luwero police have rescued 35 learners who were attending Islamic studies at an illegal school in Nanywa village in Nyimbwa sub-county. The children were transferred to Luwero Central Police Station. Twenty-four of the learners are children below 18 years of age while 11 are above 18 years

The learners were mobilized from Yumbe, Kabarole, Jinja, Wakiso, and Kampala districts among others. Some of the learners were found sharing accommodation with goats whereas others slept on the floor in congested rooms in a residential house. The Savannah Regional Police Spokesperson, Patrick Lule explains that they got intelligence reports about learners attending religious studies in an illegal home. 

He explains that when Police visited the home on Thursday together with Probation Officers from the district, they found the learners sleeping in unhygienic rooms, which exposed them to infections. According to Lule, they decided to transfer the minors to Luweero Child Reception Centre which is under the Police Child and Family Protection Unit as they trace their parents whereas the adults have been directed to record statements to help Police inquiries. 

Lule says that the owner of the home Habib Abdullah is still abroad but his wife who was in charge has been arrested to answer charges of operating an illegal home.

Richard Bwabye, the Luwero Resident District Commissioner, says that the home has been closed with immediate effect and the owner must answer charges of operating an illegal home.

“We got reports that the children have been there for some months undergoing religious studies yet they were supposed to be in traditional schools. We ordered that the children are returned to their parents to enroll in traditional schools and the home closed,” Bwabye said. 

Some of the children told URN that they were transferred to the home by their parents to study Islam and they were comfortable until police raided it on Thursday morning. One of the learners said that he completed S.4 but failed to pursue further education due to poverty till when the director of the home offered him support to study Islam.

This is not the first time security is raiding children’s homes and Islamic centers in Luwero. In June this year, Policemen and th army raided Walusi hill at Kireku village in Kikyusa sub-county and forcefully disbanded a group of 70 people who were there allegedly studying Islam. Police detained the leaders of the group for a week on allegations of radicalizing their followers but released them without charge.

In September 2021, the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence and Police raided Markaz Ibun Hajarai School in Namaliga zone in Bombo town in Luweero district where they arrested the Director, Sheikh Uthman Yasin Nsubuga.

During the raid, the officers picked up 50 children who were studying Islam and transferred them to Kyampisi Childcare Center drawing protests from Muslims. The children were released when the matter came to the attention of parliament.

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