Suspected cult leader arrested after 'locking sick followers in church'

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Suspected cult leader arrested after 'locking sick followers in church'
The church suspected of having cult followers | Eddy Enuru

SOROTI | A pastor in Soroti was Monday afternoon arrested over allegations of harbouring a cult with potential to cause grievous harm to unsuspecting followers.

Pastor Peter Ogoba, 35, of Galilee Ministry of Christ Church, was arrested by the Police from Soroti City West Division on allegations of recruiting and harbouring over 200 victims.

The unregistered church, which started operation in 2017, has been described as a religious cult by Soroti City West mayor Peter Patrick Emaru.

"This is a classic example of the plight of victims in religious cults, who often fear questioning their leaders," Emaru said.

Intelligence suggests that Pastor Ogoba manipulated his followers, confining them in the church and denying them access to proper medical treatment.


The police investigation began following a tip-off, leading to the arrest of Pastor Ogoba by Division Police Commander Mohamed Rashid Byansi.

Before the arrest, SP Byansi warned the congregation about the church's activities, but they ignored him.

Police help some oft he potential victims of the suspected cult to hospital

At the time of the arrest, 50 followers were found in the church, with five critically ill individuals taken to Soroti Regional Referral Hospital for treatment.

The acting East Kyoga Region Police spokesperson, Edison Obukulem, confirmed that a general inquiry file has been opened against Pastor Ogoba.

"The police are providing psychosocial support to the victims and urging the public to report suspicious activities to local authorities," he said.

Pastor Ogoba claimed that his church was helping sick patients who had not been healed in health facilities, and that they asked believers to stay within the church to avoid temptations.

Justine Emalu, a church member, defended the church, saying it had delivered many sick people who had failed to receive help from hospitals.

He appealed for Pastor Ogoba's release to save the innocent souls, stating that the patients found in the church were victims of a failed health system in the country.

But then that is exactly how cults are - with members of the church who are willing to defend their leader to their grave.

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