Uganda: Church Pulls 500 Kids Out of School

Kampala, Uganda - At least 500 children have dropped out of school in Sironko district due to the teachings of their church, the Deputy RDC Sironko, Hussein Matanda, has said.

Gowa community warns its followers that the personal identification numbers (PIN) given to pupils under the Universal Primary Education (UPE), can be used globally to trace and kill their children. The church has about 1000 followers in Mbale, Manafwa and Bududa districts.

Matanda said most of the children who have dropped out of school due to the Church's teaching are aged 6-15. Parents reportedly lock the children in houses to stop them from escaping to school. "The situation is very alarming and if something is not done urgently, no single child will remain in school in this district," he said. "If they don't allow children back to school as agreed, we shall pounce on them."

The Gowa community insists on preaching against PIN, but denies ordering children to stop attending school. "It is the parents who stopped the children from going to school because they believe in our doctrine," said Peter Wadamba, one of the Church leaders. "We are not against education but we do not want these digits."

Quoting the book of Revelations in the Bible (Chapter 13, verses 16-18), Wadamba said the Pope intends to rule the world using digits. The Church also preach against bank ATMs, computerized driving permits, and mobile phones. "It will not be easy to convince us to change our ideologies but we pray that God guides us," he said.

On Thursday, education ministry and district officials tried in vain to convince the Church leaders that the numbers are harmless, and that it is unchristian to deny children education. The church community had tasked Government officials to prove that their computers were not linked to international networks.

The verses quoted by the Church say, "He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666."