15 March 2018

Uganda: Over 40 Houses Set Ablaze in Kasese in Two Months

Over 16,324 people are living in fear in Isango Sub-County, Kasese District following a scenario in which 42 grass-thatched houses have been torched since February.

Mr Wilson Agaba Sekalombi, the Isango Sub-County chairperson said the most affected villages include; Isango I, Isango II, Kyempara II and Kitatura.

"We are actually living in fear because we don't know who set ablaze our houses. We have lost over 40 houses in less than two months and we are investigating circumstances behind the incident," Mr Agaba said.

Isango Sub-County that was cut out of Bwera Sub-County is one of the sub-counties that border with DR Congo.

Mr Agaba reported that so far, 12 kitchens, 14 residential houses, 14 latrines, 17 brick shelters and 161 beehives have been torched just in a period of two months by unknown arsonists.

He also said that the reason behind the act has remained unknown as investigations into the matter continue; asking all people with grass-thatched houses to relocate their items before they are destroyed.

"I want to warn the residents to be vigilant all the time and to relocate their items from the houses that are targeted as we combine efforts to curb the vice" Mr Agaba said.

Six orphans were on Wednesday found taking refuge at their uncle's home, Mr Hashimu Kamalha Mubalenga, just a few meters away from their houses that had been torched a day before while they were sleeping.

Allen Biira,15, said that she felt a lot of heat and when she woke at 3am, she saw flames of fire burning their grass-thatched house and made an alarm as she rushed to wake up all her siblings.

"As we were sleeping, I felt a lot of heat only to see the house was on fire. I had to wake up my siblings so that we run for our dear lives. We lost everything to the fire since it was too late," Biira said.

Mr Mukonzo Isebaheswa, an elder in the area said that in 1978, a similar incident was witnessed but it was suspected to be as a result of either adultery or jealousy.

However, he asked the sub-county authorities to call for an emergency meeting of all residents in the area in order to have the situation calmed.

The Sub-county chairman, Mr Wilson Agaba said that recently, a bottle of mineral water filled with petrol was discovered having been placed at the door post of Mr Augustine Kahingwa's house in the same area.

He said that a high profile meeting has been organised at the end of this week to see how they can address the problem.

Meanwhile, the mysterious torching of grass-thatched structures including houses in Isango Sub-County has prompted police to establish a police post in the area.

The in charge of the new police post, Mr Julius Tusingwire Ceaser, asked the residents to remain calm as security investigates the matter.

Addressing the residents on Wednesday, the Rwenzori East Regional Police Commander, Atwooki Patrick Bingi said that the new Police post in the area located near Isango Health Centre II will stay until the perpetrators burning the grass-thatched structures have been apprehended.

He however warned the residents against witchcraft after learning that the area was harbouring over 180 witchdoctors.

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