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Mineral police on the spot for torturing residents, miners in Ruhaama

FILE PHOTO: Artisanal miners

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Police officers attached to the Mineral Protection Unit-in Ntungamo district are under the spot for torturing and harassing residents. The officers are deployed in Ruhaama sub county and Miraama-Kafunjo town council. They are accused of torturing residents accusing them of illegal mining and trespassing on the land under Zanack holdings. The latest case of torture involves Ignatius Matsiko who was assaulted by two officers he identifies Geoffrey Burifu and a one Lubega on November 01, 2019.

The officers reportedly clobbered him with a baton and threatened to shoot him. Matsiko says the officers confiscated his mobile phone and shillings 200,000 shillings.

He says since filed a case of assault at Ruhaama police post vide SD08-10-11-2019. Joseph Turinawe alias Kyojo, a resident of Mwerasandu, says the officers have on several occasions attacked residents who mine tin or deal in the mineral.

He says that he was fired by Zanack holdings after complaining about torture by the security operatives. Anthony Rugasira, a supervisor at Zanack holdings, says some issues have been forwarded to them and sorted.

He however faults a section of artisan miners who he claims use drugs such as marijuana and become violent whenever they try to put them in order.

Ntungamo Resident district Commissioner, George Bakunda, says his office has been briefed by concerned citizens on the problems they face at the hands of Mineral Police. He says efforts are underway to hold a meeting with the accused group and residents to harmonize and sort the issues raised.

Bakunda says officers who will be found to culpable for torturing residents and extortion will be held responsible as individuals.  Rwizi Regional Police Spokesperson, Samson Kasasira says that the concerns of the residents are being handled by Ntungamo District Security Committee.

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