More than a dozen pilgrims are stranded at Namugongo Catholic Martyrs Shrine. Mostly women aged between 60 and 75, the pilgrims from the districts of Mbale, Kayunga, Wakiso, Mubende and Mbarara are seeking financial aid to travel back home.
The stranded pilgrims say they were left by vehicles and people they came with after the martyr’s day mass.
One of them, Jane Namwihiri came with 60 pilgrims in a coaster from Kayunga but she could not trace her colleagues after the mass. Aged 70, Namwihiri says she does not have contacts of the people she came with and does know anywhere in Kampala but can only find her way home if helped to get on the bus to Kayunga.
Another 67-year-old, Bangirisi Busingye, came on foot from Mbarara but she does not know she was left behind. Busingye says that she had paid her transport fare to the team leader.
75-year-old Joy Namiiro from Mbale is also stranded at Catholic Martyrs Shrine. She says she checked on where their vehicle was parked but found when it had already left. Maria Mbabazi, 23, says she lost her transport fare and could not get back to Mubende where she left her 1-year-old baby.
Meanwhile, Police have commenced a hunt for two children who went missing at Namugongo Martyrs Shrine. Bateesa Kwikiriza and Joshua Kibalama disappeared from their parents during the Martyrs Shrine mass.
Deputy police spokesperson Polly Namaye said investigators are trying to establish how Kwikiriza and Kibalama disappeared. Preliminary investigations show Kibalama went missing when his mother left him outside the toilet door.
Namaye said that 64 cases of missing children were registered during the martyr’s day celebrations this year. 62 of them have since been recovered, 58 reunited with their parents and another four whose relatives haven’t been identified are kept at Kampala Central Police Station.
According to the police report, there were 46 cases of phone theft and 40 arrests made during the day. Of the suspects, 29 were released after police screening while 11 are still in police custody. They include one who was arrested for selling counterfeit drinks.