Masindi, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | One person was gunned down during a protest by over 200 Kinyara sugarcane cutters in Masindi district on Saturday evening. The deceased only identified as Rizfork, and resident of Arua district met his death when anti-riot police opened fire to quell the protest in Kibamba village, Pakanyi sub-county.
It is alleged that the cane cutters who had been deployed to harvest sugarcane in Kimbamba village, Kyakamese parish staged a violent strike after delayed payment of their wages by the Kinyara sugar company. Each cane cutter is entitled to Shillings 5000 per day. A cane cutter who spoke to URN on condition of anonymity, explained that they have not received their payment for the last two months.
Armed with machetes, the cane cutters turned rowdy and attacked whoever came their way. Julius Mabumbo, the area sub-county councillor explained that the situation compelled them to alert police since it was going out of hand.
Julius Hakiza, the Albertine Region police spokesperson says that when police arrived, the cane cutters turned very chaotic and started pelting the officers with stones. They eventually attacked police officers and grabbed one of the motorcycles registration Number UP 3127 belonging to Kabarogota police post and set it ablaze.
This prompted the anti-riot police to start firing live bullets in the air to disperse the rowdy cane cutters and in the process, a stray bullet hit Rizfork in the chest killing him instantly. Police later picked up his lifeless body and delivered it to Masindi hospital mortuary for post-mortem.
Richard Wanok, the communications manager of Kinyara sugar limited has not yet commented on the matter as he couldn’t be reached on his known mobile phone number. This is not the first time cane cutters under Kinyara sugar limited are striking overpay.
In December 2011, more than 600 cane cutters staged a sit-down strike to protest poor wages. The workers demanded an increase in their wages