Twenty people have been arrested in Bulambuli district for refusing to be counted and inciting people against the same in the on-going National Population Census.
They were picked on the first day of Census by police during its operation to monitor the last-minute preparations. Majority of those arrested are followers of a religious sect called Injili Nkalu.
Diana Nandawula, the Elgon Regional Police spokesperson, said the suspects were picked from Buginyanya, an area where the religious sect is operating from in Bulambuli district.
She said police received information from the census enumerators that they received stiff resistance from these people.
According to the police, the group out rightly told the enumerators who went to their homes for the exercise that their religion does not allow them to be counted, use any form of medical drugs, and that they do not take their children to school among others.
Nandawula said the same group also shunned the national identity card registration exercise despite threats of arrest from government.
She said some of them had already fled to Kenya to dodge the national census exercise, something she described as sabotage of government program.
Nandawula declined to name the suspects for fear of jeopardizing their investigation. She said they will be charged with sabotaging government programs.
The suspects are being held at Bulambuli Central Police Station.
Nandawula said when they reached the police cell the suspects refused to give their details something she said was against their religion. She however said they will be counted by force as a similar exercise is also being conducted in all the various police units and cells across the country.
So far, apart from what she described as isolated incidences in Sironko and Bulambuli, she says the exercise is still going on smoothly in the region without much interference.
However in Manafwa District, about 500 other cult members have reportedly escaped to neighbouring Kenya for fear of being arrested for shunning the exercise.
Joseph Weyusya, the census spokesperson, said the believers escaped at night and their homes were found deserted on Thursday morning.