The actions of these Kasese Attacks seems suspicious to me. As it saddens me to know that so many people have lost their lives and that so many people have left their houses. The reports of the reactions from the attacks is that banana-fields have been cleared and houses been burnt down in Kasenyi Trading Centre in Buhobera Sub-County, therefore people have fled the area. With the continuation of the Police and the Army stay heavy deployed in the area.
Certainly the IGP Kayihura commented and claimed that “kirumamutima” youth was behind the attacks in the area. Another claim was that people wanting a Yiira Republic were behind the attacks and therefore the Police and Army went so fierce and aggressive to the citizens.
While a day before the clashes President Museveni happen to speak to fellow locals where President Museveni: “assured the delegation that if a Yiira Republic were ever to be created, it would never ever involve a single inch of Uganda” (Uganda Media Centre, 10.03.2016).
Yesterday the Rwenzori Fraternity said this was the reason: “The violence that erupted was purely post election violence that came out of a poorly managed electoral process” (…)”The so called Yiira state is a concoction that has no basis and founding among the Population in the region and we are equally perturbed by this malicious propaganda that has no basis but intended to taint and alienate us the people of the Rwenzori region from the Uganda that we have always belonged to and we treasure” (Rwenzori Fraternity, 14.03.2016) .
The first reports on the 11th March from 91.2 Crooze FM:
“Kakurungu says another attack this afternoon targeted Poilce patrol van in Bwesumbu sub county. He says investigations are ongoing, to establish the intention of the group.
Uganda People Defense Forces were backing Police to secure the area, after the declaration of results from LCIII elections. Announcing some of the successful candidates, Kasese District Returning Officer, Lawrence Mbonigaba announced NRM’s John Musana Katura as Hima town council’s L.C III chairperson elect after winning his closet rival Tom Maate Wabukombi of FDC” (91.2 Crooze FM, 11.03.2016)
What happen on the Kasenyi on the 11th March?
““4 people shot dead following fresh clashes today afternoon between UPDF, police and residents of Kisenyi Town Council in Buhohera Sub-County, Kasese district. The dead are civilians. 2 UPDF soldiers were seriously injured while the area commissioner of police in charge of operations Opolot Jacob was shot and injured“ (NBS TV Uganda, 2016).
Who was shot on Friday the 11th March?
“Friday, security again shot dead four people in Kasenyi trading centre in Buhuhira sub-county after they allegedly attempted to disarm police officers. All the four killed were members of Rwenzururu kingdom royal guards, a non-combat force that guards the kingdom sites in Kasese” (The Observer, 11.03.2016).
What is weird for me is that President Museveni – Mr. Anti-Sectarianism and Anti-Tribalism comes days before and speaks about tribe to locals. Than days after local elections for councilors the Inspector of General Police says the reason for the violence is tribal. While the local CSO Rwenzori Fraternity and the Rwenzururu Kingdom spokesperson is clear that it is not tribal and want answers to why it is guards of the Kingdom who get pointed out and terminated.
While the Police and President Museveni even speaks about a Yira Republic, and the locals does not talk about it. It would be like President Museveni and IGP Kayihura would go to Lira and claim locals there after a brawl after vote rigging was local militias wanting to create at Nile Republic. Just like Joseph Kony of LRA wished to do in 1998, but people tend to forget that kind of thing, right?
So the claim from the IGP Kayihura is very strange and so is President Museveni come in hours before, when all reports looks like tension after the LCIII Councilors elections in Kasenyi Trading Centre and Hima Town. They came in heavy with the Army and Police, while the result seemed planned as it was the NRM who won in an area. Where the FDC has had an stronghold and the only area where all the MPs came from that party, even if had to violent after the tally on the 19th February.
So that this is continuation and surely the NRM and the Government would accept to lose face in the local elections as well. They had to be there and revenge the matter. That what it seems like as the UPDF and UPF knew exactly who they were going against and who they shot. As the men they shot were guards of the Rwenzururu King or Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu. That is suspect actions from the Governmental security organization who blames youth who evens wants to create a new Republic called Yira. The thing about this it is just mentioned by Government Officials in 2014, 2015 and now 2016. Not from the local youths in Rwenzori or by the Rwenzururu Kingdom officials or anybody else, most likely from Government Officials, and not real intelligence on the claims. Just like the claims have been countered quickly by the CSO and the Kingdom yesterday, after the IGP Kayihura explanation of the violence in Kasenyi Trading Centre in Buhobera Sub-County.
This here is not the whole explanation and there is more to the story, but as long as there is targeting certain individuals who belong to a certain level of authority, even a cultural institution as the Rwenzururu Kingdom. That is entity for the people of Rwenzori and the Rwenzori sub-region. That even President Museveni has blessed and was there on the coronation of the king or Obusinga. So that the government security forces targeted a separate group of people and not killing on random or just stopping demonstrations; as demonstrations would mean all kind of people would be hurt and died by the shots fired from the army and police. That was not case it seems after the Kasese attacks. There were two more people killed that day, as the Kingdom verified four people, while the total killed by the authorities was six. So there was two more and we don’t know their affiliation, but seems like the government had reason for four of them. Especially considering the mediation the day before and with the reactions the announcement of victory in local government elections, as the recent reactions to similar outcome in Bundibugyo, the army and police was more in action and ready to retaliate and address the public with force, as seen on the sad clips where they go in and not to settle or calming the public. Instead going in with intention to intimidate and take people down as they come with machine-guns, AK-47s and in it creating violence, not the story the IGP Kayihura has, that doesn’t fit the other stories. That is worth thinking about. This is not the answer and the whole story, but there is more behind the attack than the IGP want to tell, and there is more than the Kingdom is also saying, while the obvious that the announcement of the elections results that triggered it. Peace.
As members of the Rwenzori Fraternity, a non-partisan grouping of people hailing from the region, working in different parts of Uganda but mainly in Kampala & Kasese, wish to state as here under.
We learnt of the unfortunate events that happened in Kasese on the 10th day of March 2016 after the just concluded local council 111 elections wherein violence broke up in Buhuhira and Kikongo villages in Hima Town Council that led to the unfortunate loss of lives and destruction of property. We condemn in the strongest terms the perpetuators of violence and send our deep felt sympathies to the families that lost their dear ones both civilians and in security forces. We also pray for quick recovery for those we have learnt are still in hospitals.
While many versions of these events have been out in the media and from government officials namely post election violence, allegations of a Yiira state, tribal or ethnic conflicts, etc, And Whereas we appreciate the concerns of the different stakeholders and the findings so far we wish to state the following. The violence that erupted was purely post election violence that came out of a poorly managed electoral process.
The so called Yiira state is a concoction that has no basis and founding among the Population in the region and we are equally perturbed by this malicious propaganda that has no basis but intended to taint and alienate us the people of the Rwenzori region from the Uganda that we have always belonged to and we treasure.
Where as we recognize that for some time there has been some underlying political issues in the region that are funned by selfish politicians, We do not believe that this was the root cause of the violence that erupted in the past week.
We have lived as different ethnic groups in the region. We have been accommodative to each other socially, politically and economically and we would not wish anybody to appear to destroy the co existence that has been existent in the region for generations.
In the premises we ask our people back home in Kasese and the entire Rwenzori region to refrain from such acts that may cause violence and instead embrace peaceful and legitimate processes of resolving outstanding challenges at both individual, community and institutional levels.
We also implore government and all security agencies to take more interest in thorough intelligence gathering in the region. We call for more proactive rather than reactive approach to policing in the region. Government should endeavor to work closely with local, religious and community leaders during their operations. In the same vein, government spokespersons should desist from making alarming statements that may seem to seek to escalate the already porous situation but rather more calm statements.
We ask the government, the Civil Society Fraternity and all friends of the Rwenzori region to quickly focus on having a multi – stakeholder dialogue on the Rwenzori question and encourage local communities to actively engage in these peaceful efforts.
As a FRATERNITY, we think now is the time to start the journey to a long term and sustainable peacemaking processes. We have also resolved as a Fraternity to engage the different stake holders in the region in order to find a permanent solution to the Rwenzori question.
We also implore religious leaders, all newly elected political and local leaders to work together in an endeavor to foster peace and harmony in the region.
FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY.
FOR AND ON BEHALF OF THE RWENZORI FRATENITY.
This statement is to give information in connection with recent incidents of violence in Kasese and Bundibugyo districts given the distorted, and manipulated messages being sent out, especially on social media.
Let me begin by congratulating the people of Uganda for generally peaceful and successful election, namely presidential and parliamentary elections on 18th February 2016, The LCV Elections on 24th February 2016, the mayoral elections on 2nd March 2016 and the LC III chairperson on 9th March 2016. In particular, I wish on behalf of the police and the sister security agencies to thank you for the support you gave us to ensure that the country is safe and secure. The valuable contribution of the crime preventers in effectively implementing “Neighborhood Watch”, where neighborhoods and villages where security forces could effectively deploy is greatly appreciated.
Having said the above, however, there were isolated case incidents of violence here and there in some parts of the country but which we were able to handle and minimize damage to life and property, keep public order and ensure that the country is safe and secure. In this context let me focus on incidents in the Rwenzori sub-region.
After the February 24th LC5 elections, there were clashes resulting from dissatisfaction by some candidates and their supporters. the violence started in Busengerwa village of Busaru sub county where one person was shot dead by a former UPDF guide, called Museveni Bonifance, alias Bhangi, which led to retaliatory attacks in Busaru, Ngamba and Kirumya sub counties, leaving 15 Civilians dead and 04 others injured, 139 houses were also set ablaze. Following the incidents, eighty suspects were charged with murder in the high court sitting in Fort Portal on 11th March 2016 and subsequently remanded. Bhangi, the killer that started it all was arrested last night in Busaru sub County, Bundibugyo District. Hunt for other suspects, and the investigations continue.
Let me commend the joint security forces for acting swiftly and preventing the violence from spreading and ensuring security in Bundibugyo District.
On the night of 10th March2016, at 8pm, the day after the elections of LC III Chairpersons, a joint motorized patrol of Police and UPDF, while patrolling lower Kendahi cell, Kikongo ward, Hima Town Council, was attacked by over 30 persons armed with machetes, knives and clubs. 04 soldiers were injured, two of them critically, and the attackers tried to grab their guns. In self-defense, the patrol opened fire on the attackers, instantly killing two of them, and forcing the rest of them to flee. The injured soldiers are Cpl Ssentongo Matia, L/Cpl Rwot Owengeyo, L/Cpl Katuramu Hannington, and L/Cpl Otube Moses. They were rushed to Kilembe Hospital for first aid and the following day, they were referred to UPDF 2nd division Hospital in Mbarara. Two are still in critical condition.
Later the same night, at about 9:00pm, a group of arsonists torched a house of one Kamanyire Ali. Kamanyire is a known supporter of one Tom Wabukombi, who was one of the candidates but lost in LC III elections in Hima Town Council, but his tenants are said to have supported his rival candidate John Katuura, who won the elections.
Following this incident the RPC Rwenzori East informed of the situation and requested for reinforcements. I sent a team of Field Force Unit under the command of Commissioner of Police (CP) Opolot Jacob.
On 11th March 2016, at around 1:00pm, a team of Police UPDF officers led by CP Opoloto Jacob, while on a pre-deployment assessment mission in Kasenyi village, Buhurira Sub County, was attacked by a group of about 20 youths, armed with machetes, knives and clubs. They stabbed SPC Mbusa Joel, critically injuring and disarming him of hid firearm. They also stoned CP Opolot Jacob fracturing his right leg.
The security team fired shots in the air to scare them but the attackers were nit, and in fact became even more aggressive. In self-defense, the team opened fire killing 4 attackers, and recovering the gun that had been taken from SPC Mbusa Joel. CP Opoloto Jacob and SPC Mbusa Joel were rushed to Kilembe Hospital. We are transferring them to Mulago Hospital for further medical treatment.
The attackers who were killed are Kake Ezekiel, Bwambale Sajin, Wayakwa James and Kirerembwa Jokas. What is common to them is that they were members of a militia group linked to Obusinga bwa Rwenzururu cultural institution, calling themselves “Kirumiramutima” (strong-hearted). It should be noted that the Omusinga wa Rwenzururu has got official Royal guards given to him by, and based on agreement with Government. Three suspects connected with the attack have so far been arrested and are helping the Police with Investigations.
Furthermore, on the morning of yesterday Saturday 13th March 2016, unknown people set ablaze the house of the GISO of Kyabarunga Sub County in Kasenyi village as well as houses of eight other persons, who are his relatives. They also torched a butchery and a drug shop in the same area. We have information that criminal gangs are being incited to target GISOs and Crime Preventers and their properties in Kasese District.
It should be noted that prior to the 2016 LC III Elections on 9th March 2016, there were widespread threats and intimidation not only in Kasese district, but throughout the sub region against voting for certain candidates. We are investigating reports in the case of Hima Town Council that if the elections go in favor of the NRM candidate John Katuura against Independent candidate Tom Wabukombi, there would be bloodshed. In fact, it was because of similar reports that there was increased patrols in Hima Town Council, where one of our patrols was attacked. In fact, on the night of the Election Day 9th march 2016, supporters of Tom Wabukombi, contrary to electoral laws, declared their candidate the winner, and started celebrating in Hima Town. The following day, on 10th March, after the final tally of valid votes cast, the electoral commission declared the NRM candidate John Katuura as the winner. In reaction, Wabukombi’s supporters assembled at his office in Hima Town Council, and subsequently incidents of attacks on our security personnels. Joint UPDF and Police reinforcements have been deployed in all affected areas. The people in those areas should therefore not fear, and should go about your normal business.
In spite of the above mentioned incidents, however, I wish on behalf of the police and sister security agencies to assure the Public that we shall continue to ensure the security and safety of the Rwenzori sub region, and the country, as a whole. We caution those misleading the youth into engaging in reckless, and meaningless attacks on the security forces and other innocent people to desist from this criminality, otherwise the law and justice will catch up with them.
We, also, the Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu Cultural Institution, as well as other cultural institutions in the region to cooperate with security forces to engage, particularly the youth against getting themselves involved in violence, and ensure that business life, and the life of ordinary people in Kasese District, and the sub region as a whole goes on, normally without disturbance from irresponsible, reckless, and even dangerous criminal activities.
“4 people shot dead following fresh clashes today afternoon between UPDF, police and residents of Kisenyi Town Council in Buhohera Sub-County, Kasese district. The dead are civilians. 2 UPDF soldiers were seriously injured while the area commissioner of police in charge of operations Opolot Jacob was shot and injured” (…)”Today’s clashes follow overnight skirmishes in Hima Town Council yesterday during which 2 people were shot dead. Eyewitnesses tell NBS TV that at around 8pm, UPDF and police officers patrolling Kikonzo town in Hima Town Council were forced to fire back in self defense after they were attacked by panga and stick-wielding residents” (…)“Our reporter in the multi-ethnical area says the attack on the men in uniform was a culmination of tension that followed the announcement of incumbent Katura Musan as winner of the LC III race” (…)“Prior to the final announcement, Katura’s main rival Tom Wabokumbi’s supporters, sure about a win, took to the streets to celebrate only to be shocked by Katura’s victory” (…)”The situation in both Kikonzo and Kisenyi remains tense with security reinforcements seen patrolling” (…)”A number of people have been seen packing up their belongings and heading out of the two towns” (NBS TV Uganda, 2016).