Rumours about the alleged theft of the casket containing the remains of the late Bishop Geresom Ilukor forced hundreds of people to run to the church where he was buried.
Ilukor, the retired Bishop of Soroti died on September 1st, two days after being bitten by a snake. On September 6th, his remains were interred at St Stephen Cathedral in Kumi district according to his wish.
Hardly two weeks after his burial, however, rumours started circulating in different parts of Teso that the grave had been dug up and his casket stolen. This forced people including family members to run to the church grounds to verify.
Loyce Ilukor, the deceased bishop’s widow told local media that their family got the rumour but when they visited the grave site they found it intact. She added that there might have been a plan by some ill hearted persons to do so.
Other people who went back to St Stephen Church included church leaders, friends, police officers and some leaders from Teso sub-region.
Yokolamu Okello, 51, a resident of Gweri Sub County in Soroti district, says he rode a bicycle to Kumi after hearing the rumour. Okello who was confirmed by the late bishop in the 1970s told local media that when he received the rumour he was unsettled until he visited the grave site and found it safe.
Kumi diocesan Bishop Thomas Irigei said he also heard the rumour, but dismissed it insisting that casket of the late bishop is safe.
Reverend Samuel Osigil, the Archdeacon at St. Stephen Cathedral confirmed that several people are visiting the burial ground to ascertain if the casket of late bishop had been stolen.
Osigil noted that he started seeing different people visiting the grave on Thursday last week saying they had information that the bishop’s casket had been stolen. According to the rumour, the thieves targeted the casket as well as bishop’s episcopal ring.
Kumi District Police Commander Gasper Onzi Obingu told the media that since Bishop Ilukor was buried the police were deployed to guard the grave day and night.
Obingu noted that on the day after the bishop was buried, they arrested two young boys who had attempted to steal plastic chairs that were left at the burial ground.