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Bishop Shares Account of Events After Luwum Shooting

Bishop Onono Onweng adds that initially, the body was taken to Madi Opei where a military detach existed. It was then returned to Mucwini, about 23 Kilometers north of Kitgum Town and abandoned by soldiers inside St. Paul Chapel, after they failed to break past hard layers of underground laterite rocks twice as they dug his grave.

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Bishop Nelson Onono Onweng, the retired Bishop of the diocese of Northern Uganda has shared his account of events that unfolded after the death of the former Archbishop of the Church of Uganda Janani Luwum.

Bishop Onono says he had just been ordained clergy a month earlier when he was taken among seven people on the back of a tractor from Kitgum Town where he was based to Mucwini Sub County to participate in the burial of former Archbishop Janani Luwum.

The others, present at the burial, were Rev. Canon Leuben Okech, Rev. Canon Obwor of Madi Opei, Ezra Kibwota, a businessman in Kitgum town and an unidentified cousin of Janani Luwum.

"The seven of us travelled on a tractor - which was the most efficient means of transport then. We were three men and four women and we arrived in Mucwini at about 6 PM" he stated.

Bishop Onono adds that initially, the body was taken to Madi Opei where a military detachment' existed. It was then returned to Mucwini, about 23 Kilometers north of Kitgum Town and abandoned by soldiers inside St. Paul Chapel after they failed to break past hard layers of underground laterite rocks twice as they dug his grave.

The Bishop adds that when they examined the body, they discovered that it was covered in gunshot wounds and that he was possibly shot through his lower cheek and the bullets passed through the back of his head.

 

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Bishop Onweng says he personally preached at the burial of the former archbishop on February 19, 1977, and derived his sermon from the book of John 12: 24 - 26 in which Christ Jesus preached about the planting of a grain seed.

 

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According to bishop Onono, Christians sang the hymn "Onward Christian soldiers, marching onto war" as his casket was lowered into the grave.

 

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Luwum, the then Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga-Zaire, was murdered on February 16, 1977, in Kampala and is buried at his ancestral home in Wii Gweng Village, in Mucwini Sub County in Kitgum district.

Archbishop Luwum was a leading voice in criticizing the excesses of Idi Amin's regime that assumed power in 1971.  He was killed in 1977. Before he was murdered, Archbishop Luwum personally delivered a note of protest to Amin against the policies of arbitrary killings and unexplained disappearances of civilians and soldiers.

Shortly afterwards, the Archbishop and other leading churchmen were accused of treason. Luwum was accused of being an agent of the exiled former president Milton Obote, and for planning to stage a coup. The next day, Radio Uganda announced that he and three others had been killed in an accident.

Killed together with the Archbishop were two government ministers, Charles Oboth Ofumbi and Lt. Col. Erinayo Oryema. Government soldiers transported the remains from the street of Kampala and hurriedly laid him to rest, in a grave prepared just a few meters deep in Wii-Gweng village in Mucwini Sub County.

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