What you need to know:
The machete attacks in the Greater Masaka area, which occured between July and September, 2021, claimed 28 lives and left several others with injuries. The attacks brought back ugly memories of similar attacks between 2017 and 2018, which left scores dead. In this sixth and final installment, we bring you how the residents have adjusted to the new security measures.
The heavy security deployment in Greater Masaka in the first three months after the 2021 attacks is credited for putting an end to the unfortunate killings in the sub-region.
According to Mr Muhammad Nsubuga, the southern regional police spokesperson, the use of neighbourhood watch and invigorating the community policing concept played a pivotal role in curbing the machete attacks.
He says residents through local leaders agreed to have 10 houses work hand-in-hand with the police in the fight against crime.
“Indeed, we are employing these same techniques and others to ensure that such heinous acts don’t reoccur,” he says.
After establishing an emergency call centre with a 24-hour service, Mr Nsubuga says they now receive information from all corners of the sub-region and communities use the established toll-free lines to report any suspicious people they see in their villages.
“Some fresh leaflets have been circulated in some villages of Lwengo District, but we are not shaken because we know we can handle it,” he says.
“Residents were well empowered and they knew where to report. Village leaders handled registration of residents very well and it is very easy today to identify who is who,” he adds.
Mr Nsubuga says police detectives in the area, unlike before, are hands-on and intelligence gathering has also greatly improved. “We are putting emphasis on major trading centres. Our visibility has since improved and in case of any attack, locals can easily access a police officer.
Installed CCTV cameras in urban centres have also simplified the process of gathering scientific evidence that help in proving cases and link suspects to the crime scene.
Mr Nsubuga, however, reminds village leaders to continue playing their roles by maintaining operations of established village vigilante groups and village meetings to keep their areas safe..
Mr Ronald Kateregga, the chairperson of Bwasa Village in Kkingo Sub-county, Lwengo District, who was also attacked by the machete-wielding gangs who vandalised his window and door panes, says vigilantes still patrol villages at night though sometimes they lose morale because they are not given allowances.
“They [vigilantes] skip some nights, but always keep in touch with the area police, which is by law mandated to do the work,” he says.
Mr Robert Mukasa, the defence secretary in Kisaaka Village, Kimaanya /Kabonera Municipality, says they are strictly following all the measures, which police put in place at the height of the attacks.
“We are still registering locals, and we always ask landlords and tenants that get visitors to report to us about new people in the area as a way of maintaining security in our area and avoiding reoccurrence of such attackers that terrorised our area,” he says.
Mr Mustapha Ssempala, the chairperson of Gayaza Village, says registration of new residents is continuous which has helped them to fight crime in the area.
• On July 7, 2021, Joan Nabakibi, 26, a resident of Ssaza, a Masaka City suburb, was attending to a mobile money customer when she was hacked and her body dumped on the road in the area.
• On July 21, 2021, at 8pm two army reservists John Kabanda, a resident of Bigando Village Kkingo Sub-county, and Vincent Kalya, a resident of Nzizi Village, Kingo Sub-county, Lwengo District, were killed.
• On July 28, 2021, James Ddamulira, 47, a resident of Kitanga Village, Kabonera Sub-county, Masaka District, was trailed by assailants and hacked from a banana plantation. The deceased died two days before his introduction ceremony.
• On August 22, 2021, Dirisa Mukasa, 87, a resident of Kikungwe Village, Kimaanya/Kabonera Division, Masaka City, was hacked to death.
• On August 23, 2021, Richard Mbazira,61, a catchiest working at Kingo Catholic Parish in Lwengo District, was hacked to death after assailants raided his house in Kyabbogo Village, Kkingo Sub-county.
• On August 24, 2021, three people were hacked to death, including Sulaiman Kakooza, 56; Tadeo Kiyimba, 50; and Kizza Nswa, a resident of Senya Village in Masaka City.
• On August 25, 2021, Fred Ssemanda, 25, a resident of Kituntu Village, was killed between Kintuntu and Bukulula in Sembabule District. He was found with his arms tied with a rope.
• On August 27, 2021, Madi Mulindwa, was killed by thugs. Mulindwa, a resident of Kisaaka Village in Kkingo Sub-county, Masaka City, was killed moments after the assailants attacked Jimmy Ssemanda, who was waylaid on his way to Kisaaka Town, five kilometres from where Mulindwa was killed.