Ngora tunnel poses Covid-19  threat - leaders

Thursday June 24 2021
reg03 pix

Mr George Odeke with one of the locals inside the tunnel.PHOTOS/GEORGE MURON

By George Muron

Local leaders in Ngora District have expressed concern over the possibility of the Ngora tunnel turning into a centre for the spread of Covid-19 following a number of persons frequenting the place.
The underground tunnel that is in Kokong Village, Kapir Sub-county, was discovered early this week by Mr George Odeke as he dug a pit-latrine for his home. 

Since then, people continue to congregate at the site without observing standard operation procedures.
Mr Mike Odongo, the chairperson for Ngora District local government, said tthe place should be sealed off.

“People areging to the site and entering without facemasks. I foresee this place turning into a Covid-19 centre of infection,” he said.
Mr Odeke said many locals, including those outside Ngora, are visiting the place. “In a day, I receive more than 100 visitors. I am now charging each person between Shs500 and Shs1,000 for one to climb underneath to see the tunnel,” Mr Odeke said.
On Monday, the Resident District Commissioner of Ngora, Mr Ambrose Onoria, dispersed crowds.

“You don’t know who comes from where and what his or her Covid-19 status is. People must stop visiting and congregating at the Ngora tunnel site,” he said.
He cautioned Mr Odeke against welcoming visitors to view the tunnel.
The environment officer, Ms Margaret Awekonimungu, urged the public to wait for an official report from the government experts in regards to the tunnel.
“Let’s stay calm and wait for the report from the geologists...” she said.

Different experts have been speculating that the tunnel could have been drilled by the government operatives.
Others say the tunnel could be a secret pathway leading to different mineral deposits for mining activities drilled by either the then colonial masters or the current government while others think it was drilled by the then the Uganda People’s Army (UPA) rebels who fought against Museveni’s regime.
However, the theories have been dismissed. On Tuesday, Third Division security intelligence commander Ephraim Byaruhanga denied allegations that the tunnel was built for security reasons.