Kikuube, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Twenty-three suspects are in police custody at Kikuube central police station for allegedly beating a man to coma over a land conflict.
Some of the suspects that include both men and women have only been identified as Opar, Ofoi, Mita, Ogenrwoth, Aduba, Joyce, Jarieko and Uucha, all residents of Rwengabi village in Kabwoya sub county, Kikuube district. Others are yet to be identified.
The suspects were arrested on Friday afternoon from Rwengabi village.
They are accused of beating and critically injuring Ali Achikule, a resident of the same area whom they accuse of conniving with one William Mugabe, a tycoon in Hoima city to allegedly grab their land. Achikule was severely injured in the head, face, both legs, chest and hands.
He was first rushed to Kaseeta health center III before he was referred to Hoima Regional Referral hospital in coma for specialized medical attention.
The residents have for long been feuding with Mugabe over a piece of land measuring 640 acres situated in the same village.
Patrick Okwairwoth, the area LCI Chairperson told Uganda Radio Network in an interview on Friday afternoon that it all started when Achikule and other people purportedly hired by Mugabe invaded the area on Friday morning and started constructing a permanent house on the contested piece of land yet the Kikuube district security committee last year halted any activity by both the residents and Mugabe on the said land until further notice.
This situation compelled the aggrieved residents to raid and attack Achikule beating him to coma.
When the situation became tense, Kikuube police was notified and rushed to the scene.
Police picked the suspects who were immediately whisked to Kikuube central police station where they are currently being detained.
Vincent Alpha Opio, the area LC5 Councilor who doubles as the Kikuube LCV Vice Chairperson says it was wrong for Mugabe to start any activity on the land without the consent of the district security committee and the district leaders who last year suspended any activity by both sides on the contested piece of land.
He wants police to expedite investigations into the matter for justice to prevail since some of the arrested people are innocent.
Julius Hakiza, the Albertine region police spokesperson has confirmed the arrest of the suspects to URN adding that currently, police has preferred attempted murder charges against all the arrested suspects.
According to Hakiza, police is still hunting for more suspects who are believed to have participated in the act.
In October 2021, more than 300 residents of Rwengabi village in Kaseeta parish, Kabwoya sub county accused William Mugabe of attempting to forcefully grab their ancestral land. The land in question is measuring 640 acres and it is located in the same village.
According to the residents, Mugabe has a land title that he acquired near their ancestral land in the same village but he wants to use it to forcefully grab their land measuring 470 acres near his land.
A copy of the land title seen by URN indicates that Mugabe acquired 235 hectares of land situated on plot 70, block 2 in Rwengabi/Kataba village between 2007 and 2012 respectively. He acquired the title for the same land in 2012.
In April last year, leaders in Bunyoro sub-region raised a red flag over the increasing existence of fraudulent land titles in the Bunyoro sub-region.
According to the leaders, many land titles in the region were acquired fraudulently hence putting residents on the verge of being evicted from their ancestral land.
The leaders appealed to the Lands Ministry to intervene and cancel all the titles acquired fraudulently.
Several brutal and forceful evictions have taken place in the Bunyoro sub-region since 2014.