Scores of people were injured in Lira city on Wednesday as police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of Christians from Yahweh Pentecostal Mission, a parallel faction of the PAG Mission who were marching in a procession to deliver a petition to the Resident City Commissioner.
A group of protesters started a procession from their church at LPC in Lira City East Division. The protesters were armed with placards bearing different messages. They marched through Oyam Road and reached the main street where they met the police, who asked them to return to their church in vain. The back-and-forth exchange prompted the police to fire teargas to force the group back to their place of worship.
Although many believers later retreated to their headquarters at LPC, their leaders had already gone ahead to deliver the petition to Lawrence Egole, the Lira Resident City Commissioner. Egole pledged to ensure that the petition reached the office of the President.
Jimmy Patrick Okema, the North Kyoga Police spokesperson explained that the procession was illegal and police acted to prevent commotion and disorganization of business within the city.
Okema however said police have not recorded any injuries resulting from the scuffle. He warned the church leadership to speak the truth to their subjects.
Since the breakaway from PAG Mission, the two factions have been wrangling over ownership of churches and other properties within the Lango Sub-region. Recently, PAG secured a court order to seize back over 200 properties, a decision, which Yahweh has since protested. Sam Omara, a Senior Pastor of Akia Assembly Yahweh Pentecostal Mission accused police of taking sides in seizing their properties.
Recently, Bonnie Rwamukaage, the court belief mandated to execute the order decried lack of support from security. The conflict between Yahweh and the PAG Mission has led to several attacks and counterattacks, especially on Sundays. Most Christians in village churches are known for going with pangas and other dangerous weapons to defend themselves in case of an attack.