3 Nov 2010

Uganda: Pastor Held Over Battering Orphans

AllAfrica.com July 30, 2009

Uganda: Pastor Held Over Battering Orphans

by Eddie Ssejjoba

Kampala — THE Police in Katwe, a Kampala suburb, are holding a pastor attached to the Deliverance Church in Busaabala, Wakiso district for allegedly battering two orphans and subjecting them to hard labour.

Edward Bwanika was arrested on Tuesday after the Police got a tip-off that he had tied the two brothers with ropes and denied them food because they had failed to earn enough money from fetching water and selling it to residents.

Police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba told journalists that residents complained that Bwanika had been subjecting the boys, aged six and 10, to hard labour, including carrying bricks.

The boys, who are former pupils of Ssunga Primary School in Bukoto East Constituency, Masaka district, lost both their parents.

Bwanika picked them from relatives in December last year, promising to get them sponsors to help them further their education, but they did not go back to school.

"Local council officials and residents told us that the pastor forces these children to fetch water even at night which he sells to residents. They also told us that he denies them food," she said.

The head of the child and family protection unit at Katwe Police Station, Charles Mugisha, said whenever the children sold water and gave Bwanika less than sh1,000, he would get angry and tie them with ropes and lock them in his house for the whole day without food.

The Police also showed journalists the scars on the children's arms, which they sustained as a result of being tied with ropes.

Mugisha said Bwanika had also refused the boys to attend prayers at the Church because they did not have befitting clothes and many times would go begging for food from neighbours.

"Sometimes they would escape from beatings and sleep in a nearby abandoned house which raised concern from residents who tipped off the Police," Mugisha said.

Nabakooba said Bwanika would be charged with child abuse.

Meanwhile, a woman was also being held at Katwe Police Station for allegedly battering her nine-year-old son.

Sarah Nakazibwe's actions raised the concern of residents who tipped off the Police.

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