Ethiopia confirms mass entry of Ugandans fleeing 'doomsday'
What you need to know:
- The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Ugandans belonging to a religious cult in eastern Uganda fled from their villages to Ethiopia during the past few weeks
The Ethiopian government on Thursday confirmed that hundreds of Ugandans had recently fled their home to Ethiopia over 'doomsday' fears.
The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Ugandans belonging to a religious cult in eastern Uganda fled from their villages to Ethiopia during the past few weeks.
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"Hundreds of Ugandans have entered Ethiopia through southern Ethiopia, claiming that the end of the world is approaching, and Ethiopia is the only safe place" Mr Meles Alem, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told journalists.
According to Mr Meles, the Ugandan nationals are currently residing in Yangatom locality in Ethiopia's Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region (SNNPR) which borders neighboring Kenya.
It is not yet clear if the Ugandan sect members crossed borders to Ethiopia via Kenya or South Sudan borders.
The Ugandans who belong to the sect called Christ Disciples Church (CDC) started fleeing to Ethiopia last month.
The Ugandan police, in its preliminary investigation said the sect members fled to escape the end of the world, which they believed would start to strike from their area.
The members of the sect were told by their leaders that their area would soon be hit with death and all the people there would die.
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Earlier this month, authorities in Uganda said that they were investigating a religious sect called CDC with its base in Obululum village in the eastern Uganda district of Serere.
"We started the investigations after getting information that people were being trafficked to Ethiopia since February and it is going on till today," area police spokesperson Oscar Ogeca said.
The people, who number in the hundreds, were told by their leaders to flee to Ethiopia where they would be safe.
They were convinced that they should go and spread the gospel in Ethiopia
"The leadership of the church allegedly convinced their members that God had a plan for them to go and spread the gospel in Ethiopia, an idea many seem to have accepted" Ogeca added.
Police also stated that before fleeing to Ethiopia the members sold off their property such as cattle, land and other household items to raise money for the trip.
They were reportedly asked to contribute Shs2 million (about $530) to the church for transportation.
According to police, those who fled were from three districts of Serere, Kumi and Ngora.
After arriving in Ethiopia, the believers have reportedly been communicating with some of their relatives in Uganda to check if the doomsday had come as they were convinced by their leaders.
The Ethiopian government is yet to decide on how to deal with the Ugandan nationals who reportedly entered the country illegally.