Mourners who attended the burial of slain Mbarara businessman Pelegrine Atwine on Monday in Bukiro Sub-county, Mbarara District, accused government of failing to protect citizens.
Atwiine, who was a timber and real estate dealer, was allegedly abducted from Mbarara Town, strangled and his body dumped in Rwariire in Nyakayojo Division at the weekend. Police found his body at about 11am after a tip-off by residents.
“The police and army have not helped us, let us take charge of protecting ourselves even if it means arming ourselves with machetes and hammers. We are being killed like chicken,” Mr Prosper Tuhaise, the NRM chairperson of Bukiro Sub-county and the deceased’s uncle, said.
“Security is part of the gang that is killing us. Where does one get confidence to kill someone in broad daylight in town, drive and dump his body in the same area? This can’t be an ordinary person. Look at the guns that killed [Former police spokesperson Felix] Kaweesa, how [Prosecutor]
Joan Kagezi and [Former MP Ibrahim] Abiriga were killed, those cannot be ordinary people,” he added.
Mr Tuhaise tasked the district chairperson, Capt (Rtd) Tumusiime Bamuturaki, and Mr Collins Kaganzi, the Field Force Unit Commander in Rwizi, who were in attendance, to explain the killings.
“Chairman, police, if you have failed, resign and let us know you can’t do anything to protect us,” he said.
Mr Twongyeirwe Kururagire, another uncle of the deceased, said: “I heard the President giving orders to the Deputy IGP [Maj Gen Sabiiti Muzeeyi] to come with a conclusive plan to end criminality. Which plan did they come up with when people are being killed in broad daylight?”
Maj Gen Muzeeyi’s plan was aimed at combating criminal gangs in Kampala and surrounding areas.
Mr Paul Buregeya, the deceased’s father, said the killings were worrying.
“What hurts is that it is the young and resourceful people that are being targeted, where is the country heading to? Recently, we buried another young man who died in similar manner, it is now Pele. We can’t come to terms with this situation and something has to be done,” Mr Buregeya said.
Capt Tumusiime attributed the increasing criminality to declining morality in the country and not laxity of the security.
“I will disagree with my Father (Fr Felix Bikwasizehi) of forgiving these criminals. I will lead an operation against these killers and we will get them,” Capt Tumusiime said.
Mr Samson Kasasira, the Rwizi region police spokesperson, said they were making progress on the case, adding that they had arrested some of the suspects and recovered a vehicle that was allegedly used to transport the body.
“There is no laxity in police, we have arrested and prosecuted several criminals. We appeal to community members and leaders to cooperate with us so that these criminals are apprehended,” Mr Kasasira said.
The Rev Fr Felix Bikwasizehi, the Rubindi Parish priest, said the level of criminality in the country was alarming.
“Evil thoughts, deeds and criminality in the country are increasing, we need to do something to avert this. Everyone is living in terror. Even the killers of Pelegrine are here and listening and planning but in this you will not reap anything good but you will perish,” Fr Bikwasizehi said.
Atwine’s killing comes barely a month after a student of Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Brian Akampurira, was killed and his body dumped in Taso Village in Mbarara Town.