Unknown gunmen attacked a church in Kyegegwa District on Thursday, beheaded a worshipper and placed his head on the church’s altar before retreating to a mosque.
The attack was on Mungu Mwema (God is Supreme) Pentecostal Church in Karokarungi village, Hapuuyo Sub-county.
The deceased, Beata Mukachaka, 18, is said to have preaching in the church at about 11pm when the attackers, armed with machetes, surrounded the church, entered and cut off his head and placed it on the altar. They also set the church ablaze.
A police officer at the rank of Assistant Inspector, Grace Mwene, was also killed in a fire exchange with the gunmen who had retreated into a mosque after the attack.
Security has since been tightened in the district. Police said two suspects have been arrested but declined to give their identities.
Rwenzori region police commander Thomas Kasiimo said the Christians, who were in night prayers, scampered for their lives.
Mr Kasiimo said preliminary investigations show the attackers were armed with guns and bows, spears, machetes and axes.
“We have deployed heavily armed police detach in the area and the investigations are ongoing to find the intentions of these attackers,” Mr Kasiimo said.
According to the Rwenzori region police spokesperson, Mr Bashir Bakari Muga, preliminary investigations also indicate the attack was carried out by an Islamic group.
He said the body of the police officer was taken to Kyegegwa Health Centre for postmortem and it would be handed over to the relatives for burial. The Police Director of Operations, Mr Grace Turyagumanawe, who visited the scene, said the military had also been deployed in the area to beef up the police hunt for the attackers.
The District Police Commander, Mr Musa Tibakirana, who commanded the police team that engaged the attackers in a shootout, said the group had a strong gun and the one who used it was an arms expert.