Police in Bulambuli District are holding 18 people for allegedly shunning the National Population and Housing Census which started yesterday.
According to police, the suspects belong to a religious cult referred to as triple 666 or Engiri that forbids its followers from participating in activities they describe as earthly.
Ms Diana Nandawula, the Elgon region police spokesperson, said they arrested a section of leaders belonging to the sect after receiving intelligence information that they were planning to flee to Kenya. “We have arrested a group of the triple 666 religious cult for allegedly sabotaging government programmes.
They will be taken to court to answer charges of sabotage,” Ms Nandawula said.
She said the cult is also against national identity card registration, hospital treatment, immunisation and education, adding that the operation is still ongoing to target more suspects.
In Manafwa District, about 500 other cult members have reportedly escaped to neighbouring Kenya for fear of being arrested for shunning the exercise. Mr Joseph Weyusya, the census spokesperson, said the believers escaped at night and their homes were found deserted on Wednesday morning.
In Tororo District, the exercise kicked off smoothly with a low turn up in urban centres. The district census officer, Mr Francis Orono, said the exercise started as early as 7am, except at Malaba border where it began at midnight to capture information on travellers before they left the country