Five guards arrested after threatening to shoot at Minister Nyamutoro

This photo generated from a video grab on June 20, 2024 shows Minister of State for Energy and Mineral Development (Minerals), Phiona Nyamutoro and one of her security personnel at an illegal mining site in Rubanda District where private guards reportedly threatened to shoot at her during her inspection.

What you need to know:

  • The suspects are currently detained at Rubanda CPS.
  • The guards attached to a private security firm reportedly tried to block the minister and her team from accessing an illegal mining site

Police in Rubanda District in western Uganda have detained five guards attached to a private security firm on allegations that they threatened to shoot at Minister of State for Energy and Mineral Development (Minerals), Phiona Nyamutoro at an illegal mining site at Butare Katoojo in Muko Sub-county.

“The Minister together with the technical team from the Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines accompanied by Police Minerals Protection Unit (PMPU) went to inspect iron ore exploration license No.EL00340 belonging to STEAM Investments in Muko, Rubanda District. They are on a country-wide tour and consultative engagement on draft Regulations for gazetting areas for Artisanal and Small Scale Miners,” Kigezi Region Police spokesperson, ASP Elly Maate said.
According to him, the minister who doubles as National Youth Representative of the 11th Parliament received a complaint from directors of STEAM that their exploration site had been trespassed on by unknown people who were mining illegally without a license allegedly working for John Muluri Muyambi & National Cement Company. 

When the minister and her team arrived at the site at around 10 am on Thursday, the armed guards attached to Wolves Security Company reportedly refused to open the gate until the police team intervened. 

“After inspection, the same security guard blocked the convoy and cocked their guns threatening to shoot. There were five private security guards armed with three SMG riffles,” ASP Maate added.
However, the minister’s security team disarmed the guards whom police identified as Deus Kiiza, Robert Okurboth, Anthony Niwagaba, Mathias Kajugo, and Robert Mucunguzi.

“They were handed over to the territorial police and are currently detained at Rubanda CPS. They will be charged accordingly. The minister and her team are safe and have continued with their scheduled duties.  No cause for alarm!” ASP Maate added in a Thursday afternoon statement.

In a video that has been circulated widely on social media, one of the minister's police guards is heard asking "Do you want to shoot when the minister is here? Who's your commander? Their bullet was in the chamber. They tried to block us from exiting."

"I think they called their boss and the boss told them shoot. Private security? Wants to shoot at us? We need to see who their boss is. We are on duty, why would he give an order to shoot at us. You see government cars and police and you have the audacity to cock the gun? This is laughable. Bring the directors to book. Actually, it's the directors who should be arrested," Ms Nyamutoro said.