"Everything went okay up to the epistle. Then we heard a shot," said Father Spagnolo Adelmo, describing a dramatic mass in the mission at Moyo last October when the town was temporarily captured by guerrilla supporters of ousted dictator Idi Amin.

Several drunken guerrillas seeking weapons entered the church looking for police chief Archangel Inya, the priest said. Inya was at mass with his faithful dog at his side, but the guerrillas did not see him. After the invaders went outside, Father John Ferrazini left the altar and hid Inya in the sacristy. Brother Mario Rossignio extended the sermon, waiting for the guerrillas to leave.

At one point Father Adelmo said he left the pulpit and smacked an altar boy to stop him from inadvertently opening the door to the sacristy and revealing the hiding place. The police chief escaped that night but his luck soon ran out. The guerrillas caught and beat him the next day when he refused to provide them with weapons.

The level of distrust between government forces and local people in the area is so great that when the Ugandan Army recaptured the town a few days later, Inya was arrested on suspicion of cooperating with the guerrillas. More than three months later he was still being held without charge.