GULU – Police in Gulu city have on Sunday 13 arrested a pastor for holding a prayer mass at his church located about 500m away from main police station.
Pastor Cupu Kenneth of Abandoned Grace Church located behind IMC clinic along Gulu airport road was arrested on allegation that he was holding prayer with 50 people even when churches are not yet allowed to open.
Jimmy Patrick Okema, police spokesperson Aswa River Region confirmed the arrest. He told PML Daily that Pastor Cupu was using Public Address System during the session at around 11:30am.
“We got the information and we stormed the place and found pastor Cupu Kenneth very busy praying with about 50 people in the church with a public address system on,” said Okema.
He said that the suspect was immediately arrested and taken in police custody at Gulu Central Police Station on charges of defying Covid-19 directives and negligent act likely to spread infectious disease contrary to section 171 of Penal Code Act.
Police also impounded the public address system Cupu was found using to amplify the prayer.
Police also cautioned other places of worship who might be holding prayer illegally to desist the act because government has not yet made pronouncement on reopening places of worship.
“This is to warn all places of worship that the government has not made any formal communication about opening places of prayers, hence we can pray from our homes or heart. Take note that Covid-19 community infections is too many now in Gulu,” Okema warned.
The case was registered under Gulu SD Ref 24/13/09/2020.
When contacted Pastor Nelson Obol, the Overseer Gulu City National Fellowship of Born Again Pentecostal churches, he said, government has not permitted any of their pastors to reopen churches and whoever is doing it, is acting illegally.
“We have not opened churches for prayers. It is wrong if some pastors are doing it because we are yet following the guidelines on Covid 19 given to us by government. He is wrong and we discourage every pators from doing it,” Pastor Obol argued.
According to the Gulu City Overseer, they are currently teaching pastors and church leaders ahead of reopening that shall be made public by government.
Some of the teaching he said, is on how to conduct prayer session witj limited congregations and no usual worships and praises where believers freely mixes with each others.