CNA Staff, Mar 30, 2020 / 13:45 pm
Amid lockdowns responding to the coronavirus pandemic, at least three priests were arrested Sunday for celebrating Mass publicly, in alleged defiance of government orders banning religious gatherings during the pandemic.
In Uganda, Fr. Deogratius Kiibi Kateregga was arrested March 29 for celebrating Mass at St Joseph’s Catholic Parish in Mpigi, Uganda. There were reportedly at least 15 Catholics in attendance at the Mass.
The priest is well-known in Uganda, and came to national notoriety after a televised 2018 sermon at the memorial Mass for a Ugandan musician, Mowzey Radio, who died from injuries sustained in a bar fight.
Local officials said the priest was arrested along with seven other Catholics and was detained at the Mpigi police station.
“He was found preaching in the church in contravention of the presidential directives,” said Herbert Nuwagaba, the Mpigi District Police Commander.
“We want him to tell us why he is doing this," Godfrey Matovu, the Mpigi District Internal Security Officer, told the Daily Monitor.
The priest was released after parishioners protested on his behalf at the police station, according to local media reports.
On March 18, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni suspended religious and cultural gatherings for at least 32 days in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19. Uganda currently has 30 cases of the coronavirus.