Hoima, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Two people have met their death at the hands of angry Hoima residents for allegedly conniving with a land grabber.
The angry residents of Rwobunyonyi, Kirindasojo, and Kihohoro in Buraru sub-county lynched Frank Musabe and Sam Kakooza, both residents of Rwobunyonyi village on Monday evening accusing them of collaborating with Fred Mugamba, a tycoon in Hoima city who wants to grab their land.
The more than 2,000 residents are feuding with Mugamba over 810 hectares of land covering three villages. However, the land residents insist that the contested land belongs to them since they have occupied it since the 1940s.
They question how Mugamba who is not even a resident of the area acquired the land. Henry Bagamu, a resident of Rwobunyonyi explains that some people hired by Mugamba recently invaded the area and attempted to slash their crops including banana plantations, maize, beans, and cassava but they confronted them.
Robert Mwanga, the LC III Chairperson for Buraru sub-county says that he recently received several reports that some people deployed by Mugamba had started slashing people’s crops, a thing he says could have angered the locals.
He wants security and the lands ministry to intervene and address the land question in the area, saying that more people could lose their lives on the contested piece unless the dispute is resolved urgently.
Julius Hakiza, the Albertine region police spokesperson told Uganda Radio Network in an interview that angry residents mobilized and attacked the deceased persons while on Mugamba’s farm. They hacked the dou and dumped their lifeless bodies on the farm.
He says that by the time police arrived at the scene, the residents had already fled the area. Police picked up the bodies and conveyed them to Hoima city mortuary for postmortem. The land conflict between Mugamba and residents started in 2018 when he embarked on the boundary opening exercise for the contested land claiming that he has a land title.
The residents questioned the manner in which Mugamba acquired a title on a piece of land they have lived on for decades. Last year, fresh conflicts erupted on the same piece of land after Mugamba deployed his workers to clear the land.
This prompted the police to arrest and detain more than ten people who have since been remanded on charges of criminal trespass and malicious damage. In October 2022, rowdy residents set ablaze a double cabin vehicle registration number UAL 477Z that had transported surveyors to the disputed land.
Mugamba maintained his ownership of the land, saying that he legally acquired it and processed a title in 1994.