The Police in Kiira Region have arrested a 24-year-old pastor for allegedly masterminding the trafficking and defilement of girls from different districts in Eastern Uganda.
The suspect is James Muwanguzi, the resident pastor of Life in God international ministries church in Jinja City Northern division.
Officers from Budondo police station stormed his church in Budondo Ward on Wednesday morning and arrested him following a tip off from his neighbors.
The girls, the majority of whom fled when police sealed off the church, were sourced from Budaka, Namisindwa, Bududa, Jinja and Iganga districts. Muwanguzi reportedly rented a room in the area where he set up a church and office space.
His neighbors who tipped off the police claim that Muwanguzi would lock up the girls and only open for them on Sundays. The five girls rescued from the church premises accused Muwanguzi of repeatedly defiling and locking them up with the aim of blocking them from reporting his evil acts.
A 10-year-old girl from Budaka district, whose name has been withheld because she is a minor, says that Muwanguzi promised to pay for her education. “Muwanguzi took me from my parents in early February 2022 and promised to foot my school dues, only to lock us up in the church since then to date,” she said.
James Mubi the Kiira region police spokesperson, says that pastor Muwanguzi faces charges of aggravated defilement and trafficking in children. He has cautioned parents against giving away their children to self-proclaimed childcare givers, without conducting thorough background checks.