Uganda: Evangelist Charged With Lying to BBC

Regulation & Policy

A catholic evangelist who told a BBC reporter that he committed 70 ritual murders has been charged with giving false information to a public officer. Polino Angella, a resident of Bala sub-county in Apac district, was charged yesterday before a Lira magistrate. The offence carries a prison sentence of one year.

"On January 18, you told detective Vincent Odwar false information that you sacrificed 70 people, including your own son, Nelson Ojede, to the evil spirits, which was investigated and confirmed false," magistrate Everest Palodi told the accused.

Angella pleaded not guilty to the charge and was sent on remand to Lira Central Prison. His plea for bail was turned down. The magistrate said he needed time to study the file before granting bail.

According to the prosecution, Angella told BBC reporter Tim Whewell that he sacrificed 70 people, including his own son, in the 1980s and 90s when he was still an active witchdoctor. The documentary, which was shot in northern Uganda, was aired on BBC last month.

The claims by Angella during the BBC broadcast attracted public attention, leading the Police anti-human sacrifice unit to institute investigations. The documentary also showed a group of traditional healers re-enacting how they killed their victims.

Angella earlier claimed that he was paid sh200,000 to dramatise the human sacrifice story and that he was promised a donation for his community-based organisation. Godwin Tumugumye, an officer at Lira Police Station, said the BBC correspondent is also wanted by the Police.

New Vision 24th Feb 2010