Kabarole. A District Police Commander, District Internal Security Officer and an army battalion commander in western Uganda have been arrested on charges of killing suspects.
The security commanders are: Ntoroko District Police Commander Gerald Atuhairwe, the District Internal Security Officer Elidard Brian Babishanga and Lt Col Richard Muhangi, commander of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces 3rd Mountain Battalion in Ntoroko.
They were arrested together with a Special Police Constable identified as Abdul Kyarimpa.
Police said the three commanders shot or caused the shooting of the deceased on allegations that they were selling guns. The shooting happened in Ntoroko around 9pm last Friday.
Police spokesperson for Rwenzori West Region Lydia Tumushabe confirmed the killings and the arrest.
She said the commanders had been detained pending further investigations.
“We are having in our custody the Ntoroko District Police Commander, District Internal Security Officer, Special Police Constable but the army commander is in Kabarole Hospital nursing injuries he sustained in the scuffle over the same matter,” Ms Tumushabe said by telephone.
She identified the deceased as: Erasmus Irumba and one Kanyoro, all residents of Butungama in Ntoroko. They were buried on Sunday after the post-mortem.
She said the army commander’s two bodyguards who were not readily identified were still on the run by last evening but police were hunting them.
“Two civilians were shot dead in the scuffle, but we are yet to know how it started. We are investigating circumstances under which the officers shot and killed the suspects and what prompted the scuffle,” Ms Tumushabe told Daily Monitor.
According to Ms Tumushabe, Mr Babishanga received information about a group of people selling guns and he informed Mr Atuhairwe and the army commander, Lt Col Muhangi, to mount an operation.
She identified the deceased as Erasmus Irumba and one Kanyoro, all residents of Butungama in Ntoroko who were buried on Sunday.
Ms Tumushabe said no gun was recovered from the deceased at the scene except four numberless motorcycles. She said the guns which were recovered belong to the same security persons who were arrested over the incident.
She said both the UPDF commander and DPC Atuhairwe’s vehicles had been seized pending investigations.
She could not reveal the charges against the security officers because investigations are still ongoing. In a related incident, police in Serere District are hunting a police officer who shot dead fishermen suspected of engaging in illegal fishing.
The police officer was identified as Sergeant Richard Oringa attached to Tingira Police Station.
Police spokesperson Asan Kasingye said Sgt Oringa received information from residents that the deceased Rogers Sabuli, Kafuko Tamuzadde and John Mukisa, all residents of Irundu Landing Site were carrying out illegal fishing on Lake Kyoga.
Upon receiving the information, Sgt Oringa rushed to the lake and allegedly shot Sabuli and Kafuko dead. Mr Mukisa was wounded.
Additional reporting by Ssebuliba Samuel and Kabuye John Patrick