Army, police hunt for residents who beat up soldiers in Kayunga land row

Video grabs show locals trying to disarm UPDF soldiers in Kayunga District on Monday.

What you need to know:

  • Brig Felix Kulayigye, the UPDF spokesperson said on Thursday during a press conference that a hunt for the eight culprits is on as these will be charged in court.

The Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) and police have stepped up a hunt for at least eight locals who beat and disarmed UPDF soldiers in Kayunga District during a land row.

The Monday incident in Galilaya Sub-County’s Kasokwe Cillage happened as relatives of Ssabanyala Maj Baker Kimeze attacked four UPDF soldiers deployed by GM Sugar to protect its workers planting sugar cane on a disputed one square mile piece of land.

The civilian sons of late Nathan Mpagi, who was the first Ssabanyala, claimed that their sibling (Ssabanyala) fraudulently sold the family land to GM sugar. The cultural leader has since dismissed the claim.

The attackers beat and disarmed the soldiers before ordering them to sit on the ground in addition to threatening to kill the army men.

Despite the humiliation, the soldiers kept calm and did not harm any of them.

"I thank God that the assaulted soldiers did not do what they were supposed to do. You can't touch on my gun and I let you go scot free," Brig Kulayigye said ON Thursday before condemning the incident he blamed on poor parenting.

Kayunga District Police Commander (DPC) Rosette Sikahwa told this publication that the assault has attracted the attention of President Museveni.

"Police has already gotten the names of the culprits plus their telephone contacts. We shall soon arrest them from wherever they are hiding," Sikahwa added, noting that “some attackers fled to Kampala where they are now in hiding.”

The DPC explained that police investigations suggest that the contested land belonged to late Sarah Nanyonga who is a granddaughter to deceased Adam Kikonyogo.

According to Sikahwa, Nanyonga reportedly sold the land to Megha Ltd which also later sold it to GM sugar.

By the end of Thursday, security was still in Galilaya to “ensure that there is no blood shed.”

“Police have opened two case files whereby one is general, investigating the attack on soldiers confronted and disarmed by civilians. In the other file, we are investigating charges of assault, malicious damage and threatening violence,” police informed.

On his part, Brig Kulayigye insisted that UPDF didn't involve itself in land wrangles but the army had been called to restore order.

Family apology

Following the Monday attack on soldiers, the heir to the late Nathan Mpagi who was the father of some of the youth seen assaulting soldiers, has expressed remorse.

"We are sorry about what happened and we have apologised for the embarrassment the incident could have caused to the army,” Tony Mpagi told Monitor late Thursday.

The late Mpagi (Nathan) and President Museveni were bush war friends and a source within the deceased’s family says it is the Ugandan leader who convinced one of his children (Ssabanyala Maj Kimeze) to join UPDF soon after graduating from Makerere  University.