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Ugandan pilgrims warned against drinking ‘holy water’

Ugandan Catholic pilgrims visiting the popular Namugongo Martyrs Shrine in the central region have been cautioned against drinking water from the so-called holy well.

Church authorities say the water can be used for other scripture purposes such as making the sign of the cross, but it is not fit for consumption.

Uganda Episcopal Conference secretary general, John Kauta, on Thursday said although faithful who collect the water claim spiritual healing, health experts have advised church leaders that the water is unclean and unsafe.

“The water in Namugongo is distilled, but it is not safe to drink. This is also because it runs from many places. People can take it and use it for signs, but don’t drink it,” Mr Kauta told the state-run New Vision website.

Mr Kauta said the church will in the future set up more taps at the well for easier access due to the high demand for water.

Pilgrims have started arriving at the Namugongo shrine for this year’s Martyrs’ Day celebrations in June.

The annual event pays homage to the 22 Catholic and 23 Anglican martyrs who were executed for their faith on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga of Buganda between 1885 and 1887.

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