Police find three mass graves in Bundibugyo

Residents at one of the mass graves in Bundimulombi village, Bundikeki Parish in Kirumya Sub-county, Bundibugyo District yesterday. PHOTO BY RUTH KATUSABE

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Police accept to to dig up the bodies after Bundibugyo residents raised fears that most of the buried were victims of tribal attacks.

BUNDIBUGYO- Police have said they will exhume bodies of people in three mass graves in Bundibugyo District amid concerns that the killings were the work of elements fermenting tribal sentiments following the recent attacks in Rwenzori sub-region.

Residents and local officials in Bundibugyo District believe that between 10 and 15 people were secretly buried in each of the mass graves following the simultaneous attacks in Kasese, Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts that left more than 90 people dead.

While about 55 of the dead were buried by the army near Kanyamwirima Army Barracks on July 6, residents later discovered more than three mass graves in Kirumya Sub-county. It is believed that the graves contain bodies of people either killed by the residents in tribal clashes or were fleeing attackers killed by residents and local security persons.

The police yesterday agreed to exhume the bodies but said they have to first secure a court order.

“Yes, we have to first secure a court order and we are waiting for experts and doctors to exhume the bodies any time; could be tomorrow (Tuesday),” said Mr Thomas Kasimo, the western region police commander.

Many residents and district leaders said they suspect most of the dead were killed in reprisal attacks.

However, Mr Andrew Batalingaya, the Bundimulombi village chairperson, in whose area the graves are located, denied that there were inter tribal killings in the district.

“The seven bodies that were buried in one of the mass graves in my area were not identified and were those who attacked Kanyamwirima Army Barracks,” he said.

“They had wounds of gunfire and I suspect that they died over excessive bleeding as they tried to run and escape death,” said Mr Batalingaya.

Meanwhile, Police Professional Standard Unit is investigating seven police officers from Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts over allegations that they failed to detect and respond to the July 5 attacks that left more than 90 people dead.

Mr Thomas Kasimo, the regional police commander, yesterday told the Daily Monitor that the officers were implicated by several civilians.

He named the officers as Mr Alex Mwine Mukono, the Bundibugyo district police commander; Mr Thembo Yokania, the Bundibugyo District crime intelligence officer; Mr Jimmy Osomere, the officer in- charge of Kikyo Police Post and Mr Thembo Sylvester, the driver at Ntoroko Police Station.
Others are Mr Alex Nuwagaba, another driver attached to Bundibugyo Police Station; Mr Alfred Muhindo, a constable in Bundibugyo and Mr Stephen Atiang, the officer in-charge of criminal investigations in Bundibugyo.

“Investigations are still going on, but should they be proved guilty, they face dismissal from the force, fine, losing ranks or may be reprimanded,” said Mr Kasimo.