Maracha – A home at Minako village of Ombia parish, Yivu Sub-county in Maracha district, turns pilgrims site for believers.
Thousands of people from as far as Democratic Republic of Congo border and Arua are swarming a village in Maracha, West Nile in Uganda to have an encounter with a suspected apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The village is called Minako, Ombia parish, Yivu sub county of Maracha District.
The believers are flocking the the village following a fast spreading wild news that the blessed Mary has appeared to a woman, in the village.
An incident that started on Saturday, 2nd May, with 42 years old Philister Lekuru, has now reached the ears of thousands of people.
An Ovacado tree in the middle of Lekuru’s compound is the centre of attraction to the believers, claiming seeing the image of the Virgin Mary.
Though, many people claim to have seen the apparition of Mary and her son Jesus Christ, Lekuru says she doesn’t know what happens our side.
“Am hearing from people that Mary is in the tree but I don’t know about it” Lekuru explains to Red Pepper, during an interview at her home in Minako village.
According to Lekuru,she only interfaced with Mother Mary and Jesus Christ on Sunday, the second day of their visit to her home.
The woman, who is on 14 days lockdown and fasting reveals, she was directed to do so by the Virgin Mary in a bid to imitate the 40 days fasting of Jesus after his baptism.
Lekuru says, the Virgin Mother restricts her to stay indoors until she receives another instruction on the next step to take.
On the very Saturday when the incident happened, many claim seeing yellowish rings around the sun and that was the beginning of the pilgrimage.
Like many other pilgrims to the unknown phenomenon, this Red Pepper Digital Correspondent tried his best to view the location but couldn’t see anything.
According to those claiming to have seen the apparition, Mary keeps turning her face around with half open hands like one welcoming people home.
However, much as it is a spiritual attraction for God fearing pilgrims, the incident has also turned into a running battle field between believers and security officers.
Combined military and police personnel have camped under a mongo tree at Lekuru’s home.
An officer, talking to Red Pepper Digital on condition of anonymity as he was not an official source to talk to the media, says the deployment was to avoid over crowding against COVID-19 pandemic, directive.
The defiant crowd keeps building from hundreds to thousands as time passes by and hiding at a distance of half or a kilometer.
What angers the security forces most is the mentality of some boys, booing, whistling, pelting stones and catapulting at the officers.
The area LC 1 chairperson, Dramu Henry, detests the action of the locals towards the security officer.
He notes the officers were also preventing the crowd from destroying food crops around the area.
“The security officers are only urging the wanainci to observe social distance. Without the security officers, food crops around this area would have been destroyed” Dramu argued.
The numbers of people, Red Pepper Digital encountered flocking the scene on Sunday, 10th May, was in thousands, exceeding that on the previous day.
Red Pepper Digital has not been able to verify these claims from Catholic Church authorities in the area.