Two elderly women are injured during running battles between the police and residents of Kidda Village near Masaka Municipality protesting against the constant power outages in the area.
The outage started on Friday after Umeme officials removed a transformer from Kidda village in retribution for power theft.
The officials led by Duncan Mwesigwa, the Masaka branch manager claimed that majority of the residents in the area were consuming unmetered power.
Uganda loses USD 30m (approximately Ugx 76Billion) annually in electricity theft and other associated power losses.
Isaac Mugume, the commercial Officer for Umeme Masaka branch says the move was driven by alarming levels of power-theft among residents of Kidda, Buchulo and Kisuuna villages. He said Masaka region was losing up to 37 percent of the planned supply to illegal connections and power theft.
He adds that such illegal connections were affecting supply efficiency and putting people’s lives at risk.
However, this morning, angry residents blocked the Masaka-Nakiyaga and Masaka–Kidda roads paralyzing business and transport in protest of the action by Umeme.
They started a procession to storm UMEME offices in Masaka to demand an explanation from UMEME on the reason for disconnecting the entire village as opposed to dealing with the power thieves.
The procession was blocked by anti-riot police who used tear gas and live bullets to quell residents who were hurling stones at the security personnel. Separate tear gas canisters landed into the houses where the two injured women reside.
The injured are Pelagiya Namatovu, the mother of Bukoto East MP Florence Namayanja and another identified as Mary Nanyonga, both residents of Kidda trading centre in Buwunga Sub County.
Namatovu is now admitted at Kitovu Hospital, while Nanyonga was by press time receiving first aid from her home in Kidda.
John Mwaule, the Masaka District Police commander explains that police was forced to fire live bullets and use teargas because the protesters had turned rowdy yet they were hiding into residences.
At the time of filing this report, Masaka regional Police Commander, Maxwell Ogwal, Masaka Deputy RDC Joseph Ssekasamba and other local leaders were meeting with Umeme officials to restore power.
Dozens of anti-riot police officers have also been deployed in Kidda village.