Security in and around the Namugongo district of Uganda has been increased ahead of tomorrow’s Martyrs Day commemorations. The district is home to two neighbouring shrines to 23 Anglican and 22 Catholic converts to Christianity who were executed in the mid-1880s on the orders of Mwanga II, King of what was then Buganda.
Pope Francis visited the newly refurbished shrines in November 2015. They regularly attract pilgrims from around the world and tomorrow, an annual public holiday on which the martyrs are remembered, some 40,000 people are expected to visit the shrines.
The Archbishop of Uganda, Stanley Ntagali, with Pope Francis at the Anglican Shrine in Namugongo during a Papal Visit in November 2015.
Photo: Petero Buyondo and Francis Emorut
Some media reports from Uganda say that 11,000 police officers will be on duty to ensure a safe day; while traffic restrictions have also been imposed in the area.
“No private vehicles, taxis and motorcycles would be allowed beyond the police cut off points,” Senior Superintendent of Police Musinga Norman said. “There will be no parking for the general public both at Catholic and Anglican Shrines.”
Separate parking areas have been created for VIPs, foreign pilgrims, and Ugandan pilgrims at local schools and colleges. Those attending have been advised to follow the advice of the security services.
This year’s Martyrs Day commemorations will be especially poignant as 2017 marks the 40th anniversary since the assassination of Archbishop Janani Luwum, Archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Boga Zaire, who was murdered and martyred by the then-President of Uganda, Idi Amini, on 16th February 1977.