Budaka residents left in camps as mysterious fire burns 45 houses

Residents have erected makeshift structures in their compounds to protect their property from being destroyed by fire. Photo by Mudangha Kolyangha

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Residents now fear to stay in their houses with property, claiming fire was being sent by a witch to destroy them. Authorities have arrested four people.

Budaka- Police are investigating the cause of a mysterious fire that has burnt more than 45 grass-thatched houses since August, leaving over 200 residents in makeshift structures in Budaka District.

Residents have attributed the fire to spirits sent by a witch doctor but the district police commander, Mr Martin Otim, ruled out this possibility.
Mr John Mukomba, the Kachomo LC3 chairperson, said: “People have resorted to staying outside with their household items for fear of losing them in the fires.”

Temporary shelters
Mr Mukoma said families built temporary shelters in their compounds to avoid being caught in the mysterious fire.
Most of the affected areas include Bunamwera village and Kodiri Parish in Kachomo Sub-county.

Ms Perusi Sabano Mbulalina, 87, a mother of 10, said most families were sleeping outside in the courtyard for fear of losing their property.

“The moment property is returned into the house, few minutes later, it is on fire. We are now helpless,” Ms Mbulalina said.

Mr David Tabitya, who also lost household items to the fire, said although the families struggled to put out the fire, it had razed almost all the others.

The LC1 chairperson, Mr Stephen Magino, said they were planning to organise a community meeting to find a solution because it “is believed that it could be witch doctors behind these fires who could be using spirits to cause havoc in the area”.
According to the LC5 chairperson, Mr Arthur Mboizi, four people were arrested recently in connection with the fire.

Mr Mboizi also said district officials, including the Resident District Commissioner, Mr Majid Batambuze, held a meeting with residents where they suspect that the cause of the fire could be as a result of wrangles in the community.


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