Uganda: Pastors Suspected of Kidnapping Face New Charges

Kampala, Uganda - Two pastors who were charged in August with abducting two girls from Soroti now face new charges of human trafficking after prosecution amended their charge sheet.

Pastors Mr Sunvick Kisakye and Moses Ngolobe of Tabernacle Centre International Church, Namungoona in Rubaga Division, were arrested in August in connection with the alleged disappearance of two girls from Soroti District.

The duo, together with Ms Sandra Martha Asiga, a follower, was jointly charged with making false declarations to obtain a passport.

Following the amendment of the charge sheet, the trio was ordered to deposit their passports at Nakawa Magistrates Court in order to have their bail upheld since investigations into the matter were still ongoing.

Nakawa Grade I Magistrate, Ms Juliet Hatanga, while upholding the suspects' bail, said that the fact that they have been attending court proceedings showed their willingness to produce their passports.

Court heard that on July 21, between Soroti and Kampala, Mr Kisakye, Mr Ngolobe and Ms Asiga unlawfully took away Juliet Namusisi, 17, who is underage, from her guardian against his will.

The same trio on July 30, prosecution said, tampered with and falsified immigration information at the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the purpose of obtaining a passport for Juliet Namusisi in the names of Juliet Atuker, 19, and subsequently acquired passport No.B0818950.

The case has been adjourned to November 10 for mention.

Daily Monitor reported that a frantic search was mounted, Namusisi and Asiga were found in Kampala, issued with passports and visas, destined for Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.

The pastors allegedly applied for visas on July 29. The travel clearance was green-lighted the following day, which in itself is a rare occurrence at immigration. It normally takes at least five days or a week to be issued with a visa.

On their files the girls had been reportedly presented as ushers in the pastors' church, leading to the implication and arrest of the church ministers.

The Police are also investigating the immigration officer who handled the files. However, attempts to arrest the immigration official, whose names have been withheld for investigation purposes) were reportedly blocked by the officer in charge of Security at the Immigration Office. The officer reportedly asked the arresting officers to present an arrest warrant for the suspect.