Messiah alum detained without charges in Uganda; family, friends seeking his release

By Joel Hoover

A Messiah graduate is detained in Uganda, but with no known formal charges filed.

Philip Wilmot, a Class of 2012 alum, remains detained in Uganda. He and his wife Suzan were detained by Ugandan police in Lira on Saturday after holding an “unauthorized meeting”, according to Messiah film lecturer Krista Imbesi. Imbesi worked on a documentary with Wilmot this past summer. While Suzan Wilmot was released Sunday night, Phil has been transferred to Kampala, the capital of Uganda, arriving there this morning.

The Wilmots were leading nonviolent training at the time of their detention, according to a Facebook post by family friend Brett Foote. The training was designed to help Ugandans resolve conflict peacefully.

Uganda passed a controversial bill last August that requires police approval if three or more people gather publicly to discuss political matters. Police were also given power to break up such meetings that occur in homes.

Written notice of public meetings is now required at least seven days in advance and meetings may only take place from 6:00 through 18:00 local time.

No formal charges have been issued against Wilmot, leaving it unknown what law was broken to result in his detention. Imbesi adds Suzan was requested to report back Friday, the reasons for which are currently unclear.

Phil and Suzan Wilmot are the co-founders of Solidarity Uganda, a nonprofit organization that seeks to train Ugandans in nonviolent activism and create social change. The organization focuses on community and human development by way of educating people and training them to seek peace and justice.

Phil Wilmot is a Messiah College Class of 2012 alum who studied Theology and Peace and Conflict Studies. According to the Solidarity Uganda website, he manages the operations and programming of the organization, while also leading nonviolent action training for clients.

The Wilmots live in Lira with their daughter, Nadia Aceng.

Friends of the family have asked for prayer, while working to raise awareness of the situation by spreading the hashtag #freewilmot on social media. There have also been suggestions of emailing or calling both the United States Embassy in Uganda and the Uganda Embassy in the United States to urge them to intervene in the situation.

There will be a brief prayer vigil on Messiah’s campus for Phil Wilmot Thursday after Powerhouse in the Hostetter Chapel classroom around 9:30 pm. Powerhouse begins at 8:30 pm in Hostetter Chapel.

The Pulse will continue to monitor this ongoing story for new information.

4 Responses to “Messiah alum detained without charges in Uganda; family, friends seeking his release” Subscribe

  1. Nathan Richard Sooy December 11, 2014 at 9:37 am #

    (202) 726-7100 is the phone number of the Ugandan Embassy in Washington DC. Please call and let the Ugandans know that Phil Wilmot is not a forgotten person. Anyone who is interested in the work of Phil’s justice group, Solidarity Uganda, can learn more at

  2. Sam December 11, 2014 at 9:40 am #

    Call the Ugandan Embassy in Washington DC (202) 726-7100 to ask for his release to his family in Lira, Uganda.

  3. web page January 8, 2015 at 8:42 pm #

    Great website. Plenty of useful information here.
    I’m sending it to several buddies ans additionally sharing in delicious.
    And certainly, thank you for your sweat!


  1. Messiah grad Wilmot released from custody in Uganda | The Swinging Bridge - December 12, 2014

    […] Wilmot had been detained by Ugandan police without charges since Saturday. He and his wife Suzan were taken by police after holding an “unauthorized meeting” in their hometown of Lira. Though Suzan Wilmot was released by police, Phil was transferred to the Ugandan capital of Kampala on Wednesday. […]

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