At least 30 pilgrims with life-threatening conditions were referred to various hospitals in Kampala from the Catholic martyr's shrines.
Prize Tayebwa, manager of Kampala West Red Cross branch, reported that the affected pilgrims, predominantly women, were suffering from high blood pressure, anaemia, and other chronic ailments.
Tayebwa emphasized the gravity of the patients' conditions, stating that they were immediately taken to hospitals such as Naguru, Mulago, and Norvik. He further explained that the Red Cross responded to over 300 medical emergencies in total. While many of these cases involved swollen limbs due to extensive walking, others required specialized care, prompting urgent transfers to hospitals.
To address the physical discomfort of the pilgrims, foot massages were provided, particularly for those with swollen limbs. Additionally, glucose was administered to ensure hydration and replenish depleted body sugars caused by the long journeys.
Furthermore, some individuals sustained physical injuries while attempting to enter the Catholic shrines, pushing themselves amidst the crowds. The queues to the shrines extended as far as Kyaliwajjala and the junction to Butto-Bweyogerere road.
Aside from the medical emergencies, the Red Cross team also encountered 20 cases involving children and adults who have been separated from their relatives.
Of the recorded cases, three involve adults and 17 pertain to children. Four children have been successfully reunited with their parents through phone calls, as they were able to provide contact information for their family members.
70 arrested over theft
Over 70 people were arrested at Namugongo by both overt and covert security teams at the Catholic martyrs' shrines over attempting to steal exhausted pilgrims.
The vigilant overt security teams strategically positioned among the pilgrims and caught the suspects in the act, as they attempted to open bags and snatch valuables such as mobile phones and wallets from unsuspecting pilgrims.
Patrick Onyango, Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson disclosed that some of the arrested individuals deliberately caused disturbances with the intention of diverting attention and stealing from the pilgrims.
However, the swift response of the security teams led to their apprehension. The suspects are currently under detention at Kira Division police, which holds jurisdiction over both the Catholic and Anglican shrines. Among the recorded cases, 19 involve theft of mobile phones, while 10 are related to general theft.
"We have arrested 70 people and out of these two are females. But the general situation is relatively calm and normal," Onyango said.
In their efforts to maintain a secure environment, the military and police confiscated unauthorized items from the pilgrims, including knives, razorblades, and other sharp objects.
To bolster security, both ground and aerial assets were deployed, demonstrating a comprehensive approach to safeguarding the pilgrims. Onyango expressed gratitude to the pilgrims for their cooperation with the security personnel.
"They have abided with our directives and guidelines and this made our work easy," Onyango said.