Maracha – Christopher Barugahare, the West Nile region police commander (RPC) has ordered police to shoot and kill any civilian found with dangerous weapons like spears, bows and arrows in the ongoing border dispute between the people of Tara sub-county in Maracha district and their Lobule sub-county counterparts in Koboko district.
Barugahare issued the order on Monday, June 1, during a meeting convened to resolve the conflict that resulted into destruction of houses, household property worth millions of shillings and crops, looting of goats and fish from a fish pond by the aggrieved locals.
In last week’s clashes that started on Wednesday, most of the destruction were registered in Aruwe and Lodre villages in Tara sub-county in Maracha district.
By Saturday, youths on both sides mobilized themselves with panga knives, spears, bows and arrows ready to protect their interest.
But speaking during the meeting, Barugahare ordered his men in uniform to shoot to kill any civilian seen carrying the said dangerous weapons.
“We have learnt through the photos I managed to see that there were people carrying deadly weapons, those ones include; arrows, machetes and bows. Those are very deadly weapons and any police officer who meets someone carrying a deadly weapon, the only position is that you should shoot to kill,” Barugahare ordered.
He noted that anybody carrying a deadly weapon is not any different from the one who has a gun.
“So in future, I’m warning you people to avoid using such tools anywhere. You keep them in your home and when you are attacked by robbers, then you can use them. But coming to commit mob action with deadly weapons, the police, I think I must praise them because they could have killed all those people, you are very lucky!” Barugahare stated.
He said the locals shouldn’t bother to carry those weapons anymore.
Barugahare, however, said the perpetrators of the conflict will be investigated and arrested as demanded by a section of leaders.
James Acidri, the Maracha East county MP and James Baba, the Koboko county MP who called for the meeting to find solutions to the long-time border dispute had requested the RPC to investigate the matter and apprehend the people who looted animals and destroyed property during the fight.
They also demanded that police officers who watched on as locals caused havoc be investigated and later disciplined by the force, a request Barugahare heeded to.
The meeting chaired by Mr Fred Bada, the Director of Nile Peace Initiative was also attended by Rose Atima Ayaka, the Maracha district woman MP, Margaret Baba Diri, the Koboko district woman MP, the two district chairpersons, sub-county chairpersons, police, elders, religious leaders and hundreds of the aggrieved locals.
It was later resolved that the MPs should petition the office of the minister of Lands for the colonial map which will in turn be used to demarcate the original boundary between Koboko and Maracha district.