Gunfire Rocks Arua As Police, Army Battle Christians Over Bishop Drandua’s Grave
By Andrew Cohen Amvesi
Ediofe Cathedral, the headquarters of Arua Catholic Diocese was on Wednesday evening turned into a battle field as police and UPDF fired live bullets to disperse a group of Christians, who were baying for their Bishop, Sabino Ocan Odoki’s blood.
Trouble started at about 12:40am in the night when police arrested about 24 Christians manning the grave of the late Bishop Emeritus, Frederick Drandua in the Cathedral.
But unfortunately one of the locals escaped and went direct to start ringing the cathedral bell which awakened the mob.
They immediately stormed the Cathedral and started burning items in the offices of different Priests and also destroyed the Church next to the main Cathedral.
Others went to Odoki’s residence and smashed the glass windows of his house.
It was at this time that police and the Army started firing teargas and live bullets throughout the night.
The situation was still tense in the morning as the officers kept on making frantic calls for reinforcement and more teargas by helicopter since the locals had already surrounded them.
By press time, it was not yet clear whether the Bishop was still trapped in his house.
“We can not allow this to continue happening,” Jonathan Musinguzi, the Arua DPC told Red Pepper in an interview.
“We managed to arrest 24 people, who were trying to mobilize the Christians against the Bishop,” Musinguzi said.
But he couldn’t tell whether the arrested goons were the one’s guarding Drandua’s grave.
The locals started manning Drandua’s grave on suspicion that some people were planning to still his casket.
Musinguzi, however, confirmed that the locals pelted stones at the Bishop’s residence with an intent to harm him.
John Waga, a security officer at the Cathedral said they remained in doors as the Christians destroyed Church property at night.
“They were too many for us to manage and we feared for our lives, a reason we couldn’t come out,” Waga said as he showed us things which were destroyed by the irate Christians.
The fracas brought business in the entire Arua town to a stand still as the spill over of the mob kept patrolling the town with placards in demand for Odoki’s resignation.
We couldn’t speak to any clergy at the time of filing this story since all of them took refuge in fear of their lives.