The teenagers who accused a wealthy Ugandan pastor of sodomising them have withdrawn their accusations amid claims of police intimidation.

Evangelical pastor Robert Kayanja and his wife had been accused earlier in the year of sexually abusing the two teenage male church members.

Criminal Investigations department Chief Edward Ochom said that the allegations against Kayanja were simply lies and fabrications. Police instead arrested one of the alleged sodomy victims and interrogated Kayanja’s accusers for three days.

It’s been alleged that the teens’ statements were retracted under pressure and in exchange for money. There are also suspicions that Kayanja’s offer to renovate a dilapidated police station in Kampala influenced the police’s decision to drop the charges.

Pastor Kayanja reportedly has close ties to President Yoweri Museveni, also leading to suggestions of presidential interference in the case being dropped.

Activists have been concerned that the media and population will confuse the child abuse allegations with homosexuality; possibly leading to a national gay panic in the already highly homophobic nation. Sodomy is punishable by life imprisonment in Uganda.

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