The Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) has released a group of nine Muslims, consisting of eight males and one female, following the intervention of the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC).
Sheikh Imran Ssali, Secretary for Religious Affairs, and Sheikh Juma Bakhit Cucu, Secretary for Education, spearheaded the intervention.
The group was apprehended a month ago at a mosque in Mpigi town while engaging in informal Islamic theological studies.
Security authorities suspected the group of involvement in subversive activities linked to the rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), operating in the jungles of the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.
The arrest was made after one member was caught attempting to flee with his entire family, including his wife and children.
During interrogation, he revealed his intention to join the Islamic State, where he believed he could practice authentic Islamic tenets without perceived compromises in Uganda. Consequently, the group was detained pending a thorough investigation.
The families of the detainees sought assistance from the UMSC through their village mosque, which escalated the matter to the national level.
UMSC leadership engaged with the authorities, leading to the realization that the released Muslims were unaware of the whereabouts of their colleague who had been in contact with a notorious gang attempting to recruit innocent Ugandans through manipulation on various social media platforms.
The group underwent screening before their release.
Major Ssendi Bahigi handed over the freed Muslims at a brief event held at the UMSC headquarters.
In his remarks, Major Ssendi denied any government-led witch-hunt against Muslims, as sometimes portrayed by the media.
He emphasised that the government’s primary responsibility is to maintain peace and order in the country.
Sheikh Muhammad Ali Waiswa, the Second Deputy Mufti representing Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje, the Mufti of Uganda, welcomed the freed Muslims.
He expressed gratitude to the security heads for their professionalism in handling the suspects.
Sheikh Waiswa reminded the freed Muslims of the importance of obeying both Allah’s injunctions from the Quran and the authorities appointed over them.
He urged them to be law-abiding citizens, refrain from associating with misguided individuals, and focus on activities that promote decent living and peace within their communities and the nation.
Muhammad Ali Aluma, the Acting UMSC Secretary-General, emphasised the need for Muslims to be law-abiding citizens who respect all levels of leadership, including government authorities.
He encouraged the freed Muslims to become ambassadors of peace within their communities and, if they wish to establish learning centers, to ensure they adhere to regulations and guidelines governing educational institutions, both secular and Islamic.
Sheikh Imran Ssali and Sheikh Juma Bakhit Cucu provided an account of their engagements with security and how they assured the government of UMSC’s commitment to effectively manage Madrasah schools, preventing them from becoming breeding grounds for activities that could undermine national security and peaceful coexistence.
The freed Muslims include Badru Lukooya, Huzaifa Batte, Huzaifa Ayub, Sumaya Nakawesa, Bashir Mamaji, Bukenya Bruhane, Nantajja Kyeyune Muhammadi, Matovu Hamza, and Yusuf Kakamba. Haj Muhamood Kateregga Namuguzi, a UMSC Executive Committee Member, was also present at the event.