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Two UPDF soldiers arrested for putting RDC, LC5 at gunpoint

Hoima, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Security in Hoima have arrested two Uganda Peoples Defense forces-UPDF soldiers for putting Hoima Deputy Resident District Commissioner-RDC, and the LC5 chairperson at gunpoint.

The soldiers whose names have been concealed by security for fear of jeopardizing investigations are alleged to have committed the offense on Monday this week. The incident happened in Butema village, Buhanika sub county.

It is alleged that the Hoima LC5 chairperson, Kadir Kirungi, together with the Hoima Deputy Resident District Commissioner, Michael Kyakashali, rushed to Butema village to intervene in a land saga between residents of Butema and John Magara, a tycoon in Hoima city over a piece of land.

The land in question measuring approximately 700 hectares is being claimed by both Magara and the more than 1,000 residents.

On the fateful day, Magara hired excavators that he deployed on the contested piece of land and started clearing properties, destroying garden crops belonging to the locals.

This angered the locals who accused Magara of allegedly trying to forcefully grab their ancestral land.

The residents turned rowdy and immediately alerted the office of the LCV chairperson and that of the Hoima RDC.

On the contested piece of land, Magara had deployed UPDF soldiers guarding the excavators as clearing of the land was ongoing.

However, when the Hoima deputy RDC together with the LC5 Chairperson rushed at the scene, they were immediately put at gunpoint by the soldiers before they could do anything. The soldiers ordered the duo to immediately vacate the site or else be killed.

This did not go down well with the deputy RDC and the LC5 Chairperson who called for reinforcement of other UPDF soldiers and police who came to their rescue before the situation was put under control.

Emmy Kateera Turyabagenyi, the Hoima Resident District Commissioner-RDC in an interview with Uganda Radio Network on Thursday explained that the two soldiers who had been deployed by Magara to guard his land and held the deputy RDC and the Hoima LC5 Chairperson at gunpoint have been identified and arrested by security, adding that serious disciplinary action is to be taken against the soldiers.

Turyabagenyi says they have called for a regional security meeting to find out circumstances under which the soldiers were deployed to guard the land under dispute, and also to find out who deployed them since his office was not aware of their deployment on the piece of land.

He however says the soldiers could be part of security provided to Magara by the president to guard him and his home, but he instead misused them by deploying them on a contested piece of land between him and area residents.

Kadir Kirungi, the Hoima LC5 Chairperson wants disciplinary action taken against the two UPDF soldiers for misuse of their guns and not respecting members of the district security committee.

According to Kadir, they almost lost their lives when the soldiers charged at them. It is not yet clear on whose command the soldiers were deployed.



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