By Kitts D.Mabonga
The locals of the mount Elgon ranges of Eastern Uganda region have put on spot the UPDF’s Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) enforcement organ for the clandestine killing of over 31 people while allegedly trying to kick them out of natural protected areas.
The shocking details emerged yesterday during the launch of a book titled “human rights violations in Uganda,the abuse of civil and political rights in the era of kisanja hakunamchezo”,which was held at the Uganda Christian University (UCU) Mbale campus.
The police Elgon region deputy RPC Omara Cyrus is being seen off by the guild President of UCU Mbale campus Ajego Jackline
Haruna Kanabi as lead researcher made the presentation of the damning report findings that was conducted by the human rights and peace Centre (HUPEC) Makerere University school of law.
Kanabi shocked the over 200 participants comprising of security officers, religious leaders, politicians,media,the leadership of UCU and students when he played a video footage showing how UPDF officers under UWA reportedly tortured and killed many people while trying to evict them from the Mt.Elgon ranges.
The 104 page report noted that a total of 31 deaths were recorded between March 2016 and December 2018 attributed to UWA’s law enforcement rangers in seven districts of Sironko,Namisindwa,Bulisa,Masindi, Kasese,Hoima and Rubirizi respectively.
The killings of locals that had encroached on natural protected areas attracted a backlash on the UPDF /UWA officers in attendance as participants wondered how they could choose to kill human life and at same time claim to be protecting hyenas saying the act was arbitrary and unacceptable under the rules of natural justice.
However captain Samuel Sanyu the UWA officer in charge of enforcement Mt. Elgon national park said it was true lives had been lost adding that they too lost over 45 UWA game rangers in those operations being killed by poachers in the last 15 years.
Kanabi noted that given the time frame of the project,the exact statistics of the death of community members over the same period could not be established.
The deputy RPC police Elgon O’Mara Cyrus denied allegations that many people arrested by UWA while evicting them from Mt.Elgon had been tortured in room 21 of CPS Mbale but the Members including the religious leaders testified to the effect the police indeed carried out systematic and clandestine move of maximum torture of people.