Gunfire rocked Rwamutonga village in Bugambe Sub County in Hoima district in the wee hours of Monday morning as police evicted residents from a chunk of land under contention.
Police was enforcing a court order to evict more than 200 residents from a 500 acre piece of land belonging Joshua Tibagwa, a Hoima based businessman.
Tibagwa has been feuding with residents over the said land for more than two decades. However, high court ruled in his favor and ordered the affected residents to vacate his land.
This morning, police demolished and burnt down the residents’ houses in order to force them away.
They also shot several bullets to scare away some of the residents who were threatening to attack them with machetes and arrows.
An officer who spoke on condition of anonymity since he was not the overall commander of the operation said they were forced to open fire since the resident had turned violent.
Last year, the same residents attacked Jean Kaliba, the Hoima RDC and local leaders with arrows and machetes and vandalized their vehicles.
Alex Ochir, one of the affected residents accuses police of using excessive force. Despite the fact that Ochir was reportedly at work at Bugambe Tea Estate at the time of the eviction, he denies reports that residents charged at the police.
He says there is no way police could escape injuries, if arrows were aimed at them, as claimed. The father of three said he was still uncertain of the whereabouts of his wife and children. He however insists he would go back to the land, since it is his ancestral land.
By the time of filling this story, it was still unclear how many houses had been destroyed. Ochir puts the number at more than sixty.
Bernard Akankwansa, the Hoima district police commander, who led the operation declined to comment, saying he would do so after the operation.
Tibagwa claims he has a title for the disputed land while residents insist they are outside his land. The businessman reportedly wants to lease the land to an investor to establish an oil waste management plant.