YUMBE. As Eid day celebrations draw nearer, the security forces in Yumbe district have discouraged the Muslims from mass gathering during the celebrations.

The pronouncement was made last week during the Covid-19 taskforce meeting following the threat of the new Covid-19 variant.

Mr Ashraf Ajobe, the Yumbe district internal security officer (DISO) said the new Covid-19 variant is more disastrous than the previous one.

He said the porous borders will put Yumbe district at a high risk to the new Covid-19 variants due to uncontrolled to and fro movements and that Eid celebrations will attract people from different parts.

"We have started receiving requests from the religious leaders seeking permission to hold Eid prayers in different locations. I want to recommend that through the advice of the district health officer and the available guidelines in place, there should be no Eid prayers", he said.

He continued "If we say, the number should be minimized, it will not work because everybody would like to be among the few numbers recommended. So why don't we say there are no Eid prayers so that we are not stressed", he added.

But Mr Haruna Alamiga, the secretary for security of Yumbe district opposed the idea saying the ban would spark conflict.

He said if the guideline can allow 200 people to converge for a function, then Muslims could be allowed and split themselves into two hundreds for the prayers.

"As being the political security officer, I am receiving waves that are not good from the Muslims. During the recent celebrations by other denominations, policies and guidelines were somehow relaxed but it will be a total discrimination if the Muslims are banned from holding Eid prayers", he stressed.

He said the religious leaders should be engaged in these talks so that they are aware of this move with consultation from the central government.

Mr Charles Okoto, the district Police commander said they had scaled down curfew in the district because of the fasting period as some Muslims have been going for prayers at night.

He said while churches had reprogrammed themselves to have more masses than usual in a day, it was difficult for the Muslems.

"It's going to be difficult to say 200 people should pray and the rest shouldn't pray because of that time. I think we need guidance from the national taskforce on the way forward concerning the issue of Eid", he said.

Ms Caroline Angolere the RDC said the issue of Muslims complaining of being discriminated against is just a mind set issue.

She said last year on June 3, Catholics who were supposed to go and pray in Namugongo on martyrs day were banned and the same will happen this year because mass gatherings have been discouraged.

"I agree with the DPC/DISO that there should be no gathering for Eid prayers. We are going to communicate through the religious leaders that people should pray at home and it's not good for our people to be passive that they are discriminated against", she said.

"We are not protecting ourselves but we are protecting yourselves and there is a need to tell people that there is nothing we gain by forcing them to follow SOPs. People shouldn't wear face masks, wash hands to please me as RDC doesn't make sense", she added.

He said the new Covid-19 variants are very dangerous which can't wait for 14days like the ordinary one but it takes one instantly and if the community doesn't understand, then it's sad that their lives will not be protected.

Speaking to West Nile Web on Monday Sheik Swaib Alahai, the Yumbe district Khadi agreed with the position of the taskforce on the discouragement of mass gathering during Eid celebrations.

"We resolved with the security forces in a security meeting that there should be no congregation prayers as the cases of Covid-19 are on the rise. People must pray in their homes and mosques that can accommodate a small number”, he said.

"We have sat with the county sheiks to inform the Imams about the development, there is no Eid in congregation," he added.

He urged the Muslims to observe the SOPs and must abide by the rules of the ministry of health in preventing Covid-19.