“A heartbreaking blow”: Police on Death of Two Pilgrims Walking to Uganda Martyrs’ Shrine

Namugongo Shrine in Uganda’s Kampala Archdiocese. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The death of the two pilgrims who were walking to Namugongo Shrine in the Archdiocese of Kampala to join others in the annual June 3 Martyrs’ Day pilgrimage is “a heartbreaking blow”, the police in Uganda have said. 

In a statement ACI Africa obtained, the police in Uganda say the two pilgrims from the country’s Masaka Diocese died in the Thursday, June 1 early morning accident that happened along the Kampala- Masaka highway after a bus veered off the road, hitting them.

“The loss of Nabakooza Oliva and Nambi Specioza is a heartbreaking blow, particularly as they were on their way to join thousands of fellow faithful in commemorating the Martyrs Day celebrations, a significant event in the calendar of our beloved country,” the police say.

The untimely demise of the two Catholic pilgrims “is a profound loss not only for their families and loved ones but also for the wider community," the Ugandan police say about the two casualties hit by a bus after its driver lost control.

In the statement, the police say, "We will work tirelessly to uncover the facts, determine the cause, and ensure that justice is served.”


“Efforts are also underway to have the driver who is on the run apprehended,” they further say in their statement, adding, “We will provide updates as more information becomes available.”

Last month, Fr. Paul Musana, the Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese of Jinja that is animating this year’s Martyrs Day told ACI Africa that over one million pilgrims were expected at Namugongo Shrine and that they would begin arriving on June 1 ahead of a welcoming Eucharistic celebration.

The Uganda Martyrs’ Day dates back to the first decade of Christian presence in the East African nation when 45 men aged between 14 to 50 years were killed because of their faith by the King of Buganda between 31 January 1885 and 27 January 1887.

Among the 45 were 22 Catholics beatified in 1920 and canonized in 1964 who continue to promote Catholic life in Uganda and also play an important role in constructing a Catholic identity globally.

Namugongo Shrine is a large property covering the site where St. Charles Lwanga and his companions who included pages at the royal court, were burned alive by the order of Kabaka (King) Mwanga II of the Buganda kingdom.

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Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.