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Private guards who attempted to ‘shoot’ at Minister Sam Mayanja arrested

Hoima District Police Commander (DPC), SP Jackson Bogere at the scene of incident after the shooters fleeing into the bushy areas (Photo/Kazi-njema News)

Hoima, (UG): The Police in Hoima District are holding three security guards for allegedly firing live bullets into the air as the Minister of State for Lands Mr Sam Mayanja attempted to visit a conflicted land area on Friday afternoon.

Hoima District Police Commander, SP Bogere Jackson confirmed the arrest of the trio in a telephone interview with this reporter on Sunday afternoon.

“..yes, the private guards attached to Pyramid Security Group are currently in detention at Hoima Central Police Station together with their guns as investigations into the shooting incident intensify,” SP Bogere told this website.

The scary incident involving Minister Mayanja, and the three guards happened on Friday afternoon at Rwobunyonyi village in Buraru sub-county where the minister had gone to resolve a land dispute between one Fred Mugamba and area residents whose conflict has so far left two men brutally killed by the angry mob.

Magamba is accused of grabbing land from over 2,000 locals in two villages of Rwobunyonyi and Kirinda Sojo and had therefore hired private guards to man the disputed land.

On the fateful day, the minister in the company of the district security committee headed by the Deputy Resident District Commissioner, Mr Michael Kyakashari and the DPC Jackson Bogere visited the area to engage the residents and one Mugamba, the alleged land owner.

After concluding the meeting with the residents and their leaders, the minister and a group of residents advanced to reach the disputed land zone on the three-square-mile land before the private security guards interfered with them.

“I heard the Deputy RDC command the district security to engage but the FFU [Filed Force Unit of the Uganda Police Force] commander discouraged it and reorganised before he ordered for advance towards the armed men who fled into the bushy areas with their firearms,” narrates one Gad Asaba who witnessed the shooting incident.

The Hoima Deputy RDC Kyakashari described the shootout as an embarrassment that could not be ignored.

In the aftermath of the shooting, residents were left shocked and so, was the Minister who proceeded to direct the arrest of the three private guards who shot live bullets in the air, and the businessman Fred Mugamba who claims to have a land title and returning the evicted residents to their land until the matter is resolved.

Hon Mayanja also directed the DPC to release all the 25 suspects arrested in connection with the mob murder of two land supervisors who were employed by Mr Mugamba

The affected residents claim that Mr Mugamba has been keeping them away from his land and has been destroying their food and property and that the minister’s presence in the area gave them hope in their sought of justice and reign.

Relatedly, the Albertine Regional Police Spokesperson, SP Julius Allan Hakiza told this reporter that the supervisor of Pyramid Security Group whose guards Mr Mugamba hired to man the conflicted land for an explanation surrounding the shooting incident.

Mr Hakiza however explained that the shooting did not target the minister but the guards acted in defence as they thought they were under attack when they saw a group of unsuspected people advancing the land without prior knowledge.

“It is not true that they shot at the minister. They thought they were under attack because they were not told in advance of the minister’s visit. But the minister later continued with his meetings. They shot in the air,” SP Hakiza Haakiza said.

This website has further learnt that some guards from the same security group (Pyramid) were in April this year arrested for allegedly participating in an illegal eviction of residents on the same disputed land.

Mr Mugamba, the accused land owner and employer of the private security guards who allegedly shot at the minister was unavailable for a comment by press time.

There are rampant land wrangles in areas of Bunyoro but so much in Buganda, this has left several and the majority landless as rich men and women use their money, courts of law, police and the army to steal people’s land.

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