January 17, 2015

Secret Police Operations Spark Fear in Bundibugyo

People who were granted amnesty after surrendering to the police in the aftermath of the July 5, 2014 attacks in Bundibugyo district are living in fear of being arrested by security agents as unannounced operations are mounted in the area.

According to the Nisima Rwamijuma, the Rwenzori region Spokesperson, the unknown men attacked KCCL police post 10 kilometers from Kasese and killed a policeman after they disarmed him. Daily Monitor Photo
According to the Nisima Rwamijuma, the Rwenzori region Spokesperson, the unknown men attacked KCCL police post 10 kilometers from Kasese and killed a policeman after they disarmed him. Daily Monitor Photo

Close to 540 returnees were handed certificates of amnesty after a two months rehabilitation in Kasese district before being allowed back to their home district of Bundibugyo.

They had participated in attacks by the Rwenzururu youths on government military installations including Kanyamirima Barracks in which 53 attackers were killed.

A lawyer Apolo Sunday who represented some of the youth says many are now afraid they may face rearrest. Apolo Sunday is a member of the Rwenzori Legal Brain Trust, a group of private lawyers who have voluntarily been representing the suspected attackers in the Army General Court Martial in the region. 126 suspects were acquitted during the trial.

Mr. Sunday says that police led by the Rwenzori regional police commander Denis Namuwooza on Thursday night raided Ngamba sub-county in Bundibugyo district and took away one of the residents without explaining to the community why they had arrested him.

According to Sunday who is also a resident of Ngamba village, Wilson Baluku’s home was surrounded by about 70 armed police officers and his house was searched on Friday morning.

Bashir Bakar Mugga, the regional police spokesperson, confirms the operation in but said he could not give details.

When pressed further, Mugga said that he would consult with high authorities before speaking  to Uganda Radio Network on the matter.

Many of the youth who applied for amnesty after the attacks hailed from Ngamba sub-county.

Recently, there was a funeral organized by some leaders in the area for the community to culturally mourn their relatives who were killed when they attacked the military barracks in July.

It is not yet clear whether the police raids on the village is related to the ceremony as some residents claim.

Meanwhile, Sunday alleges that there are security agents who have for unknown reasons been drawing lists of people for possible arrest to hand them over to the police.

He says that majority of those set free by court martial may flee the area because some of them have already appeared on the list of nine people summoned by the police last week.

Bashir Bakar Mugga, the regional police spokesperson, confirms that there were operations in Bundibugyo but he could not give details.
When pressed further, Mugga said that he would consult with high authorities before speaking  to our reporters on the matter.

Meanwhile, in Kasese, unspecified number of people including those on bail from Army court martial are reportedly being called for security meetings to reveal what they know about the “Sikiryamuba” group suspected to be recruiting in the area.

Kasese Resident District Commissioner Maj. James Mwesigye said the security committee which he heads had met some people as a way of sourcing for information on who exactly killed 11 Basongora in Bigando village, Kitswamba sub-county on July 5.

He could not give details of the suspected rebel group “Sikiryamuba” which literally means “Cowards don’t rule.”

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