Security Beefed Up at Namugongo Ahead of Martyrs’ Day celebrations

A joint security task force has been deployed across venues in Namugongo where pilgrims expected to gather for Martyrs Day celebrations on Friday, June 3.

This year’s ceremony is expected to attract thousands of pilgrims who will gather at four different sites in Namugongo including; Namugongo Catholic Martyrs Shrine, Namugongo Anglican Martyrs Shrine, Namugongo and Mamra Prayer Centre.

With over 2,000 pilgrims who set off for their final journal to Namugogo Martyrs Shrine after enduring a 303-kilometer trek, the momentum has been massive.

The pilgrims commenced trekking on May 23 after Bishop Robert Muhiirwa of Fort Portal Diocese flagged them off.

Yesterday in Busega, Fr Titus Winyi, the chairman of pilgrims committee, said, “We are organising to welcome over 2,000 pilgrims from our diocese of Fort Portal who have been walking since last week. We have met them at Busega today and shall walk together with band led by our Bishop and others leaders up to Namugongo.”

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The pilgrims were 700 when they started the journey but the number has since increased to about 2,000, the highest number ever from Fort Portal.

Adolf Kamara, who leads the Uganda Martyrs guild for Fort Portal diocese explained that between 400 and 700 pilgrims would trek to Namugongo before now, this year has seen a remarkable upshoot.

The devoted pilgrims had some stopovers. These include Kaihura, Rwibaale, Kibuye, Mubende NTC, Kiganda, Kiyinda Mityana diocese, Nswanjere and Busenga.

At every stopover, they would first rest and wash their clothes, eat food and rest before proceeding the next day. A team of medical personnel from Red Cross accompanied the pilgrims throughout the journey.

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Security operatives also accompanied the pilgrims from Fort Portal up to Namugongo both during the day and night, as they covered 30 kilometres to 50 kilometres on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, one of the 100-foot pilgrims from West Ankole diocese Jackeline Alinaitwe, a resident of Katerera in Rubirizi district who was walking to Namugongo for the second time, died.

The 49-year-old was leading this year’s celebrations on the side of the Church of Uganda.

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