Ugandan Muslim clerics 'go missing' in Kampala

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A woman mourns the shooting of a Muslim cleric in Kampala, Uganda - December 2014Image source, AP
Image caption,
Two Ugandan clerics were killed in December in drive-by shootings

Four Muslim clerics in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, have gone missing after being picked up by unidentified men, a community leader says.

The head of Uganda's Muslim Tabliq sect told the BBC they were "kidnapped" from their homes or places of work.

The police have yet to investigate as they had not been officially reported missing, a spokesperson told the BBC.

It is not clear if the disappearances are linked to the shooting of two Muslim clerics in December.

One was the head of Uganda's Shia community, who was gunned down in eastern Uganda by people on motorbikes on 25 December, the other was a Tabliq leader shot in his car on 28 December in Kampala.

Police blamed those killings on the remnants of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan Muslim rebel group based in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

The group is headed by Jamil Mukulu, who before starting the movement, was a radical leader within the Tabliq sect in the 1990s.

The BBC's Patience Atuhaire in Kampala says there have also been leadership wrangles within the Tabliq community.

Missing Tabliq clerics:

  • Yusuf Kakande, Siraj Kawooya , Twaha Ssekitto and Abdul Salam Sekayengo

Clerics killed in December:

  • Abdu Kadir Muwaya, Shia leader - opposed ADF recruitment under guise of educating children in Busoga region
  • Sheikh Mustafa Bahiga, Tabliq leader - former policeman and involved in leadership wrangles within the sect

Tabliq sect leader Sheikh Muhammad Younus Kamoga told the BBC that the four clerics and one of their wives were all picked up between 17:00 and 18:00 local time (14:00 and 15:00 GMT) on Wednesday.

Family and friends have been unable to trace them since and the reason for their kidnapping remains a mystery, he said.

He also called on the government to launch an inquiry into the killing of the clerics, as he said it was not the first such assassination.

There have been several since prominent Tabliq cleric Abdul Karim Ssentamu was shot dead in 2012, he said.